USDA Trade Undersecretary Ted McKinney is headed to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam this week on a trade mission with nearly 80 industry and government representatives. Their goal: expand agricultural exports to one of the fastest-growing regions of the world, including Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).
“The size of this trade mission delegation speaks to the phenomenal potential that exists for U.S. exporters in Vietnam and surrounding countries,” McKinney said. “Since the United States normalized relations with Vietnam in 1995, our agricultural exports have grown exponentially, reaching a record $4 billion last year. Sales of U.S. food and farm products to Thailand and Burma also set records in 2018, topping $2.1 billion and $126 million, respectively.”
With a population of over 97 million, Vietnam is the seventh-largest destination for U.S. agricultural products. Fresh fruits and prepared food have increased in popularity in Vietnam, with U.S. export values up by 42% and 15% respectively from 2017 to 2018.
The United States is the third-largest exporter of tree nuts to Thailand, behind Vietnam and Indonesia. From 2017 to 2018, the United States expanded tree nut exports by 44.3% most of which were almonds and pistachios. Last year, U.S. tree nut exporters were able to send $26.7 million of just these two items to Thailand.
Joining McKinney are the heads of six state departments of agriculture and representatives of 45 companies from across the country, including 14 California and Arizona companies. A complete list of participants can be seen here.