US, Peru celebrate increase in agricultural trade
By Daniel Enoch
© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2015 - U.S. and Peruvian officials held a briefing at USDA headquarters in Washington today to highlight recent agreements that will boost agricultural trade between the two countries.
The “achievements,” according to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, include a final U.S. rule allowing import of fresh papaya from Peru under the same conditions as other countries in Central and South America. APHIS said it is also working on proposals that could lead to increased imports of oversized mangoes - larger fruit mostly used in processing - as well as fresh peppers and asparagus from the South American Country. Peru is the world's biggest exporter of fresh asparagus.
Ed Avalos, USDA's under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, noted that the U.S. was also benefiting from recent trade deals, pointing to the agreement announced earlier this month allowing U.S. pork producers greater access to consumers in Peru. Officials say the agreement could generate $5 million annually in additional pork sales.
Peru is also providing market access for U.S. rough and brown rice while APHIS is finalizing technical discussions to gain market access for U.S. live cattle and beef.
“There is a very strong, very positive relationship between our countries,” Avalos said, one that will only get stronger should there be a positive conclusion to the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty now under negotiation between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, including Peru. He said the trade deals would create jobs, boost economic growth and support rural communities.
Peru's agriculture minister, Juan Manuel Benites Ramos, who is visiting the U.S., said Peru has long been known for its mining industry, but its reputation as an agricultural power is increasing, especially since the implementation of the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement in 2009. Since then, total trade has almost doubled between the United States and Peru, from close to $9 billion to more than $16 billion in 2013, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
USTR says that the U.S. shipped just over $700 million worth of agricultural goods to Peru in 2012, mostly wheat, dairy products and corn. Peru's ag exports to the U.S. were mostly asparagus ($269 million); fresh fruit, excluding bananas ($202 million); and coffee ($173 million).
“Both the United States and Peru are supporters of the international marketplace and are always seeking opportunities for furthering our trade relationship, while protecting our domestic agriculture,” APHIS said.
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