May 31, 2023
U.S. agricultural trade mission heading to Japan next week

USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor will lead an upcoming agricultural trade mission to Japan June 5-8. The delegation includes a representation of the U.S. agriculture sector, including businesses, state departments of agriculture and commodity groups.

“As one of the world’s leading economies, Japan is an important market for U.S. food and agriculture exports. It is an incredible honor to lead this delegation as we work to expand our bilateral trade relationship even further,” Taylor said in a news release. “I am extremely pleased by the diverse set of businesses in our delegation as we connect many women-, minority-, and veteran-owned U.S. agribusinesses with potential business partners in Japan.”

Japan is the fourth-largest market for U.S. food and agricultural exports. In 2022, U.S. exports matched the previous record, totaling $14.6 billion, with exports of soybeans, dairy and other products reaching new highs. The United States is vital to ensuring food security in Japan, with nearly a quarter of all Japan’s food and agricultural imports coming from U.S. exporters.

USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor will lead an upcoming agricultural trade mission to Japan June 5-8. Photo: File

While in Japan, trade mission participants will engage directly with potential buyers, receive in-depth market briefings from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits.

Japan is a focus of U.S. potato concerns. During a meeting of agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations April 22-23 in southwestern Japan, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack pushed for more access for U.S. fresh potatoes in the Japanese market.

In recorded remarks to reporters posted on the USDA’s website, Vilsack said he talked with Tetsuro Nomura, Japanese minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, about “the importance of continued expansion of access for our potato and apple crops” during the G7 Agriculture Ministers Meeting in Miyazaki, Japan.

The National Potato Council has also made the subject a priority issue for 2023. Growers advocated for congressional support during the NPC Washington Summit earlier this year, and NPC CEO Kam Quarles wrote about the issue for the May/June issue of Spudman magazine.

“Although the U.S. has been able to export chipping potatoes to Japan since 2006 (and that market has grown considerably), we are seeking to enhance that market access to include all fresh potatoes, including table stock,” Quarles wrote. “Once opened, Japan will become another massive market for U.S. fresh potato exports, estimated at $150 million to $200 million annually (representing a 10% to 15% increase in global U.S. fresh potato exports). “

In addition to representatives from the following businesses and organizations, Taylor will be joined by Chanel Tewalt, state director of agriculture for Idaho; Don Lamb, state director of agriculture for Indiana; Ryan Quarles, commissioner of agriculture for Kentucky; Sherry Vinton, director of agriculture for Nebraska; Doug Goehring, commissioner of agriculture for North Dakota; and officials from the California, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Washington and Wisconsin state departments of agriculture


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