Perdue leads ag trade mission to Mexico

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks at a tailgate party in Mexico. He promoted U.S. ag products on an agricultural trade mission to the country Nov. 6-8.

Perdue was joined by more than 100 industry and government representatives on the Nov. 6-8 trip.

Mexico is U.S. agriculture’s largest bilateral trading partner and second-largest export market.

“We achieved our goals, generating new export opportunities for our collaborators and cooperators here,” Perdue said. “We had about 600 business-to-business meetings there. It helped to generate new export opportunities.”

Mexico is the No. 1 export market for U.S. corn, dairy, poultry and eggs, sugar and sweeteners, distillers dried grains and rice.

It also ranks among the top destinations for an assortment of processed foods and beverages, as well as other key products including soybeans, beef, pork, wheat and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Perdue leads ag trade mission to Mexico

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (from left) and Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney meet with Mexican leaders during an ag trade mission.

During the trade mission, Perdue invited Mexican Agriculture Minister Víctor Manuel Villalobos Arámbula to attend the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum in February. Villalobos accepted the invitation.

“We had a formal bilateral meeting with Secretary Villalobos and his whole staff,” Perdue said. “We discussed various issues between us, such as biotechnology.”

Labor and immigration also were discussed on the trip.

“We both agreed that a modernized H-2A program where they pre-certify people who are qualified to come here, and help to train those workers and teach them what is expected in a more formal way, will allow our producers here in the U.S. to have a pool of people from which to draw from,” Perdue said.

Perdue said such a program would allow farm workers to work in the United States in a legitimate, government-to-government certified manner.

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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