McKinney leads ag trade mission to Vietnam

Ted McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visits a grocery store in Vietnam. American snack foods are popular there.

McKinney, undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was accompanied Oct. 15-18 by nearly 80 industry and government representatives.

It was the third-largest ag trade mission to date.

“The size of this trade mission delegation speaks to the phenomenal potential that exists for U.S. exporters in Vietnam and surrounding countries,” McKinney said.

There were 34 companies and 13 state departments of agriculture represented on the trip.

A total of 665 sales meetings were conducted in three days.

Vietnam was chosen for the mission for its rapidly growing economy and interest in U.S. food and agricultural products.

“We do three things on these trips,” McKinney said. “We always bring along people who are going to sell stuff. These may be branded companies or sometimes commodity groups.

“Meanwhile the rest of us are off doing two other things: visiting customers and doing government-to-government meetings.”

The mission included stops in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Buyer delegations from Thailand and Myanmar also were held.

“As with many countries, we’re always working back and forth to gain further access to their markets,” McKinney said.

“We’re very pleased to report that recently we were given access to the fresh blueberry (market) in Vietnam and in exchange Vietnamese mangos began entering the U.S. market. That’s the kind of thing we’re doing.”

McKinney described relations between Vietnam and the United States as outstanding.

“We see enormous potential for food, agriculture and fuel, maybe even fiber products, going from the U.S. to Vietnam,” he said.

“Clearly, the U.S. is a country they want to do business with. And without any doubt, Vietnam is a place we want to do business with.”

Two more ag trade missions will be held this year to Ghana and Mexico.

McKinney anticipates seven or more ag trade missions in 2020.

Learn more about USDA trade missions by visiting www.fas.usda.gov/topics/trade-missions and following FAS on Twitter at @USDAForeignAg.

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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