USSEC and USDA Meet to Review India Market Development and Strategies
On July 24, USSEC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)/ Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) met over a working lunch in Indore, central India.
USSEC India invited Minister Counselor, USDA/FAS, New Delhi Scott Sindelar and Agriculture Specialist/Oil Seed Analyst, USDA/FAS New Delhi Amit Aradhey to this meeting. USSEC Director International Program Strategy & Research/Regional Director – ASC Drew Klein moderated the meeting and discussions. American Soybean Association (ASA) vice president Bret Davis and United Soybean Board (USB) director C.D. Simmons had an opportunity to hear views and market assessments expressed by the USDA in New Delhi. USSEC consultant Paul Smolen and USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Nutrition/Meal Pam Helmsing were also present at the meeting, along with USSEC India consultants.
The group discussed the upcoming regional meetings and plans to retain part-time consultants in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in order to further nurture these markets for U.S. Soy imports. Another key topic of discussion was GM issues prevalent in the ASC region and the group reviewed possible approaches to address non-tariff barriers. Mr. Sindelar thanked USSEC for its recent Emerging Market Program (EMP) proposal, which envisions a collaborative approach with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to initiate a low-key education approach for government, industry and media to spell out the benefits of GMOs. Mr. Sindelar also suggested that the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling allowing frozen chicken imports from the U.S. could strengthen USSEC’s arguments in favor of a pro-GM position. The group exchanged views on India’s ability to model other Asian growth economies such as China and Korea. It was also noted that there are positive statements on economic growth from the Indian political leadership regarding GMOs. Ideas were floated on the use of market access programs to set up a business incubator for local entrepreneurs. FAS used a recent seminar by the California Walnut Commission where acclaimed Indian experts talked about the health benefits of walnuts as a possible model for future work.