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Trade capacity-building (TCB), or trade-related technical assistance,
supports U.S. trade policy objectives by enhancing developing countries’ ability
to trade. TCB activities strengthen other countries’ agricultural institutions
and regulatory systems, encourage compliance with international norms, and
foster adoption of U.S. approaches to agricultural policy and regulatory
procedures. TCB supports the President’s National Security Strategy by promoting
free trade and open markets as a way to spread economic prosperity.
In identifying TCB priorities, FAS coordinates with its overseas offices, the
U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, the U.S. Agency for International
Development, and the U.S. Department of State. FAS also draws upon technical
expertise in other USDA agencies, the Food and Drug Administration, the
Environmental Protection Agency, land grant universities, and the private
sector. Activities include U.S. experts providing instruction in other
countries, as well as foreign government officials, scientists, or university
professors coming to the United States for training.
WTO Doha Development Round
USDA’s top trade policy priority—a successful conclusion to the Doha
Round—recognizes the importance of trade to developing countries. TCB gives
developing countries an incentive to participate in the Doha process. By helping
countries that are joining the WTO understand and meet their new commitments,
and by helping member countries address problems with compliance, TCB
strengthens the multilateral institution. And by fostering economic growth, TCB
builds markets for the future.
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
The United States is concluding a growing number of FTAs with developing
countries. In addition to promoting market access, FTAs encourage economic
growth and closer political ties to countries important to U.S. national
security objectives. Because of these linkages, technical assistance is now an
integral part of the negotiating package. TCB helped to conclude the Central
American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) negotiations by convincing CAFTA countries
to provide more access for U.S. meat and poultry by helping them understand U.S.
regulatory procedures and how to take advantage of trade opportunities.
Technical Trade Barriers
TCB is also a critical tool to address the many technical barriers that
impede access for U.S. agricultural products in markets throughout the world. By
helping countries develop transparent, science-based regulations and by
increasing understanding of the U.S. regulatory system, TCB can expand future
access for U.S. agricultural products. Likewise, this assistance enables
recipient countries to access other world markets. All countries gain from
stronger infrastructure and regulatory systems, frameworks for monitoring and
mitigating plant and animal diseases, and compliance with international norms.
In addition, TCB can assist international standards-setting bodies. Adoption of
international laws and standards benefits U.S. agricultural exporters and
enhances the ability of developing countries to trade. This leads to economic
development and growth, and ultimately greater capacity to purchase U.S.
|The U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on
the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age,
disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family
status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with
disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program
information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact
USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and
To file a complaint of discrimination, write
USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building,
1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call (202)
720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and