WASHINGTON, May 29, 2015 – Leaders from six state agriculture departments and 19 U.S. agribusinesses and organizations will accompany U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary Michael T. Scuse on a mission to the Dominican Republic and Panama June 1 through June 5, to expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products in the Central American-Caribbean region.
“Countries in this region, with their close geographic and economic ties to the United States, have always been important markets for U.S. agricultural exports,” said Scuse, who leads USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services mission area. “With strong economic growth expected to continue, the region holds significant untapped market potential for U.S. exporters.”
“Since the United States implemented trade agreements with the Dominican Republic and Panama, trade has flourished,” Scuse said. “U.S. market share in this region averages more than 40 percent, the highest outside of Canada and Mexico.”
Scuse noted that the majority of participating companies are small- or medium-sized enterprises and many are owned by women, minorities and veterans.
The Dominican Republic is the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports in the Central America-Caribbean region, with sales reaching a record $1.3 billion in 2014. As one of the top tourist destinations in the Caribbean, the country has vibrant and expanding retail and hotel/restaurant/institutional sectors, further boosting demand for high-value U.S. food products.
Panama is the third-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports in the Central America-Caribbean region, with sales reaching a record $654 million in 2014. Panama has the fastest-growing economy in the Central America-Caribbean region. The Panama Canal expansion project, expected to be completed next year, will more than double the canal’s capacity and further boost economic growth.
Mission participants include representatives from the Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee State departments of agriculture, as well as the following companies and organizations:
• Allied Potato, Inc.; Arvin, Calif.
• American Natural Food & Beverage Company, San Diego, Calif.
• Amstad Produce; Sherwood, Ore.
• Commercial Lynks; Alexandria, Va.
• Illyrian Import; Rochester, Mich.
• JM Grain; Garrison, N.D.
• Mariani Packing Company; Vacaville, Calif.
• MetaFoods; Atlanta, Ga.
• Mixes, Inc.; Hutchinson, Kan.
• Pristina Capital Partners; Midland Park, N.J.
• Tomex Foods; Glen Ellyn, Ill.
• TRC Group; Roseville, Calif.
• United Dairymen of Arizona; Tempe, Ariz.
• United Global Trading; Dallas, Texas
• USA Rice Federation; Arlington, Va.
• US Rice Producers; Houston, Texas
• Western U.S. Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA); Vancouver, Wash.
• Zafi Beverages & Agricultural Technologies, Inc.; Chicago, Ill.
USDA trade missions open doors and deliver results for U.S. exporters, giving them the opportunity to forge relationships with potential customers and foreign government officials, as well as to gather market intelligence that will help develop strategies to expand sales in key markets overseas.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).