Metz Represents USSEC on USDA Trade Mission to Peru and Chile
- General News
USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz traveled to Peru and Chile from March 14 to March 18 as part of a trade mission led by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The delegation's goal was to help to expand export opportunities for U.S. agriculture.
Mr. Metz called the opportunity to be a part of the Secretary of Agriculture’s trade mission “very valuable” to U.S. soybean farmers.
In 2009, the U.S. entered into a trade agreement with Peru that slashed agricultural tariffs and improved market access for many U.S. products. As a result, U.S. farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2015. In the Chilean market, all U.S. products enjoy duty-free access as of 2015, thanks to the free trade agreement enacted in 2004. Since 2004, U.S. exports to Chile have grown more than 500 percent, totaling $803 million in fiscal year 2015.
“South America has been one of the fastest-growing world regions for exports of U.S. farm and food products, and Chile and Peru have been among the most rapidly growing markets in the region,” stated Secretary Vilsack.
Chile and Peru offer enormous potential in particular for U.S. Soy imports. U.S. Soy imports to Peru accounted for just 17 percent of its soybean meal imports, 30 percent of its soybean oil imports and 34 percent of its soybean imports. Imports to Chile for soybean meal, soybean oil and soybeans offer great potential, as U.S. imports to the market have been extremely low. Both of these markets combined are forecasted to import 1.775 million metric tons (MMT) of soybean meal, 485 thousand metric tons (TMT) of soybean oil and 500 TMT of soybeans.
The U.S. Soy delegation also included Francisco de la Torre, USSEC Regional Representative – Americas and Belinda Pignotti, USSEC Representative – South America.
The U.S Soy team focused on international marketing and met daily with current and potential customers to share the opportunities and advantages of buying U.S. Soy. USSEC met with large swine and poultry integrators including the Redondos and San Fernando Groups, the Peruvian Swine and Poultry Producers Associations, and Agribrands Purina Peru, among others.
The quality of U.S. Soy was a key topic of conversation.
“Our customers in Peru felt the importance that the U.S. places on trade with Peru,” said Mr. Metz. “Our main poultry customers understand the value of U.S. soybean meal,” he added.
Sustainability was also an important subject to customers.
“In Chile, our contacts were very interested in our sustainability certificate,” continued Mr. Metz. “Pork producers sell into a very high end export market.”
The U.S. trade mission was composed of delegates from 34 U.S. agribusinesses and organizations.