USDA Completes First US Trade Mission in 2 Years

The United Arab Emirates are a significant trading partner for the US, averaging $1.2 billion dollars in agricultural purchases each year.

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says Dubai is also a strategic gateway into Gulf Coast countries.

“The reason for interest in the middle east is that this is a place of significant wealth. There are consumers that are interested in the sort of the higher scale products that we have. We sell a lot of nuts, for example, in this region. There are some high-priced dairy products that are sold here as well, there is a demand for beef. So, there is an opportunity here, I think, for some of the higher end exporters.”

Vilsack says the elements of a successful trading relationship include people, presence, and promotion.

“The reason this trade mission is important is it resumed for the first time in two years of face-to-face contact and relationship building, which is incredibly important. You have to be there in a market in order to be able to establish market. You have to have people and obviously we have a FAS folks from the USDA who are stationed in a number of these market areas that are important. You also have to have people in country from those countries that are willing to do business with the United States.”

While in Dubai, the delegates held meetings with potential customers and participated in the Gulf-Food Trade Show, which Vilsack says was a tremendous success.

He also discussed supply chain resilience with one company that buys California nuts.

“We are working on a on utilizing every possible opportunity for us to sort of respond to and address the supply chain issue as it relates to exports. And I think that was reassuring to them. We talked a little bit about the work that we’re doing to work with ports and things of that nature, to be able to encourage more exports.”

Secretary Vilsack also announced new goals for the Aim 4 Climate Initiative, which is co-chaired by the UAE, and is working to accelerate investment and utilization of climate smart technologies.

“We now have over 140 partners. This involves countries, universities, companies, and nonprofit organizations that are committed to finding solutions in terms of climate. We are challenged ourselves to encourage our partners to invest cumulatively $4 billion. We I think we will expect and anticipate that that will double by the time we meet again in Bangkok 2027 in Egypt.”

He also welcomed 7 new countries to the coalition and announced a new partnership with IBM to advance innovation.

The administration is also planning to host an aim for climate summit in Washington next year.

For the full interview, click HERE!

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