The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Vilsack is planning on visiting Vietnam and China in mid-November to emphasize the importance of US brands and build on the existing presence of US food industries in two of the world’s fastest growing economies.
A USDA spokesperson told FoodNavigator-Asia.com that the two countries are considered to be two of America’s “most important trading partners.”
Vilsack will be the first sitting US Secretary of Agriculture to visit Vietnam.
The spokesperson for USDA remarked that Vilsack recognizes this “honor” and that he hopes the visit will continue to bring the two economies closer together.
Similarly, the former US Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, told this publication that Asia “presents an enormous opportunity and challenge for American agriculture, and world food production.”
China emerges as US’s top agricultural export market
China surpassed Mexico and Canada in 2011 as the US’s top export market for agricultural goods whilst the Vietnamese agricultural market has grown rapidly and is now valued at $1.3bn, according to the USDA.
The US’s main agricultural exports to China include soybeans and poultry products.
The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) notes that the US accounts for a quarter of China’s total agricultural import market which was valued at $71bn in 2010.
Economic growth in Vietnam makes it attractive to US business
Vietnam’s fast-growing economy has made it a more lucrative destination for US agricultural exports. It regularly imports red meats, dairy products as well as poultry meats from the US.
Figures from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) show that the exportation of red meats to Vietnam amounted to $163m last year and dairy products totaled $158m.