Minnesota farmer joining USDA’s largest trade mission

Bill Gordon, vice president of the American Soybean Association, will be embarking to Colombia and Peru with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) in conjunction with the USDA’s biggest international trade mission.

Gordon will be joined by a representative from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), along with a delegation from MDA and various Minnesota commodity groups. The delegation will be in Bogotá, Colombia from June 4-5 and in Lima, Peru June 6-7. Gordon will be meeting with Colombian officials with a group from the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

“The timing for this trip is ideal because both Colombia and Peru offer enormous potential for soybean growers and exporters during this tumultuous time in agriculture,” says Gordon, who farms near Worthington. “I’m excited to meet with officials from both countries to highlight the quality of our soybeans, while continue to make progress in increasing our export markets.”

Minnesota farmer and ASA VP Bill Gordon (left) will be joining USDA’s Ted McKinney (right) on a trade delegation to South America in early June.

Since implementation of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in 2012, U.S. farm and food exports to Colombia have more than doubled, reaching a record $2.9 billion last year. In 2018, 100 percent of Colombia’s soybean imports, 97 percent of corn imports, and 91 percent of pork and pork product imports came from the U.S.

American exporters seeking to tap into the potential of these emerging markets will join Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in Bogotá.

“The record size of this trade mission delegation demonstrates the degree of U.S. exporter interest in these markets,” McKinney says. “I’m thrilled that representatives from 54 agribusiness and associations and six state departments of agriculture are on board and ready to connect with potential customers from Colombia.”

USDA will travel to Panama following the Colombia portion of the mission; the Minnesota delegation will then fly to Peru as part of MDA’s curated trade mission. Ten years after the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement was enacted, U.S. exports to Peru continue to set records – valued at $1.4 billion in 2018, an 8 percent increase over 2017.

“With all the recent focus on tariffs and trade barriers, we need to find ways to bolster, not break down, our trade relations in ag export markets,” says MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen. “The export potential for Minnesota ag products in these two countries is great, and it’s a good time for Minnesota to establish trade relations in earnest.”

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