Business leaders from 34 agri-food companies, including the US Meat Export Federation and Tomex Foods, have joined Tom Vilsack on a week-long trade mission to Latin America on 14-18 March.
Chili and Peru, along with the US and nine other countries, are part of an ambitious and historic free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The official wording of the bill has been finalised and the 12 nations involved are in the process of ratifying the law.
The US mission to Chili and Peru will help all three countries determine what exports and imports can be established when the TPP deal comes into effect. When it does so, all three countries will benefit from lower import and export tariffs, no trade barriers and unparalleled market access.
Arriculture exports worth $919.6bn
“South America has been one of the fastest-growing world regions for exports of US farm and food products, and Chile and Peru have been among the most rapidly growing markets in the region,” said Tom Vilsack in a statement on the eve of the trip.
“I look forward to joining US agricultural leaders to explore the many market opportunities that exist in this part of the world, particularly in light of the fact that both Chile and Peru are part of the TPP.”
Under the Obama administration, the value of agricultural exports has rising by around 35%, generating a “record” $919.6bn (€827.5bn) over the last seven years, according to the USDA.
The trade mission gets underway on 14 March in Peru, where agricultural exports have nearly doubled as a result of the US-Peru trade promotion agreement in 2009.
From Peru’s capital Lima, business leaders will travel south to Chile where they will meet political and business counterparts to discuss trade. Since the US-Chile Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2004, US exports of agricultural goods have grown by 600%, said the USDA.