U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Presence and Engagement in Burma

Contact: FAS Public Affairs (202) 720-7115

RANGOON, Burma, Aug. 8, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is expanding activities and services in Burma with the opening of a new Office of Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon. 

“The opening of the FAS office in Burma is a part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen the partnership between our two countries through increased trade and investment,” said FAS Administrator Phil Karsting, who traveled from Washington, D.C., for the official opening. “USDA supports inclusive economic growth that helps Burma further integrate into the global economy and delivers tangible economic benefits to the people of this country.

“Burma is opening to the rest of the world and offers significant market potential for U.S. agricultural exports,” Karsting said. “Changes in Burma’s government and economy present exciting opportunities – not only for bulk commodities, but for high-value food products to serve Burma’s rapidly growing hotel, restaurant and tourism industries.

“FAS has a unique opportunity to help Burma continue on the road to democracy while also helping to shape and influence rules, regulations and policies that will impact the future of U.S. agricultural exports,” Karsting said.

With a new presence in Rangoon, FAS now has a network of 94 offices at U.S. Embassies and diplomatic missions around the world, covering 171 countries. The FAS network helps build international markets and facilitate exports of U.S. food and agricultural products and FAS also leads USDA’s efforts to help developing countries strengthen their food and agricultural systems, establishing a foundation for future trading opportunities.

The past seven years have represented the strongest period in history for American agricultural exports, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products totaling $911.4 billion between fiscal years 2009 and 2015. USDA’s ongoing efforts to knock down trade barriers to U.S. exports have led to the reopening of markets in more than 18 countries. In 2016 alone, Saudi Arabian and Peruvian markets reopened for U.S. beef, the South Korean market reopened for U.S. poultry, and the South African market reopened to U.S. poultry, pork and beef.  

Since 2009, USDA has worked to strengthen and support American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials. USDA has also provided $5.6 billion in disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; expanded risk management tools with products like Whole Farm Revenue Protection; and helped farm businesses grow with $36 billion in farm credit. The Department has engaged its resources to support a strong next generation of farmers and ranchers by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; and extending new conservation opportunities. USDA has developed new markets for rural-made products, including more than 2,500 biobased products through USDA's BioPreferred program; and invested $64 billion in infrastructure and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results. 

To learn more about how FAS links U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security, visit www.fas.usda.gov.

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