U.S. investment in foreign export promotion is way behind spending by the European Union and other rivals. That’s according to a study commissioned by the Wine Institute and other ag associations and funded by USDA’s Market Access Program. The analysis, by Informa Economics, found that several competing countries and the EU spent close to $1 billion in public funds on agricultural export promotion in 2016, outspending the U.S. 4 to 1. That’s an increase of 70 percent in real competitive public spending since 2011. U.S. public funding for the two largest agricultural export promotion programs is about $235 million per year and its real value has declined by 12 percent since 2011, noted the study, "An Analysis of EU and Other Selected Foreign Export Promotion Programs." The conclusions echo results of three similar competitive studies since 2013. "Other governments are investing more in global food and agricultural markets while inflation, sequestration and administrative costs are chipping away at U.S. funding," said Tom Sleight, CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, "That also cuts into the ability of American family farmers, livestock and dairy producers, fishermen and small agri-food businesses to compete in growing export markets."

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