USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor is leaning strongly into trade missions as a way to promote domestic ag exports.

“How do we ensure our exporters – our farmers and ranchers and agribusinesses – have diverse markets to sell their products into?” she said on Agri-Pulse Newsmakers this week. “Our trade missions are one tool to support that work.”

Taylor’s most recent trade mission to Panama – a $1 billion market for U.S. food and agriculture exports – focused on ensuring American farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses have access to diverse markets in Central America. The delegation included 26 U.S. businesses that engaged in more than 300 business-to-business meetings with potential buyers.

“It's not just about short-term sales,” Taylor said. “It's about the long-term relationship that we're helping our exporters really make in these regions.”

Before the end of the year, Taylor will lead similar missions to the Netherlands, Japan, Chile, Malaysia and Angola. The department will also continue hosting virtual trade missions, similar to the format conducted since the pandemic began.

Taylor is also actively involved in Sanitary and Phytosanitary consultations with Mexico under the USMCA trade agreement over the country’s proposed ban on genetically modified white corn.

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She said the “proposal itself is concerning.” However, discussions will allow questions to be asked from a “science-based risk-assessment perspective,” given Mexico’s health concerns about genetically modified crops, which the U.S. has contested.

Kam Quarles from the National Potato Council and Jaime Castaneda with the U.S. Dairy Export Council also join the show to discuss international trade for their respective commodities with Mexico and Canada under the USMCA trade agreement.

You can watch this week’s episode of Agri-Pulse Newsmakers on our website.

Correction: A previous version of this story reported USDA was planning a trade mission to Mongolia. The mission is being planned for Angola. 

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