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USDA Vies to Boost U.S. Ag Exports to India Without FTA

USDA is vying for greater access to the Indian market for U.S. farm goods, short of a free trade deal. India’s Prime Minister Modi visited the U.S. last week, while USDA’s Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small led a U.S. delegation to the G-20 Ag Ministerial in India days earlier.

Torres Small; “While I was there, I had the chance to experience a ‘Taste of America’ event we held, which is a marketing event. And during that time where American food products were featured in Indian cuisine, I had two importers come up to me and say, ‘Hey, we’re interested in more wholesale almonds.’”

The U.S. has no trade agreement with India, but Torres Small says USDA is pressing for more market access in India, the 13th largest export destination for U.S. products at nearly $1.8 billion in 2021. Torres Small; “The bilateral conversations that we have associated with visits like this are crucial, and we’re seeing positive results. So together, the USDA and USTR under President Biden have delivered 15 billion dollars in new or preserved market access through this active policy intervention with foreign governments.”

And despite Biden’s conscious decision not to do politically difficult free trade deals with potentially bigger results, India’s still a ripe target to boost U.S. ag sales. India was the third-largest export destination in 2021 for U.S. tree nuts, fourth-largest for ethanol, fifth for soybean oil, and eighth for cotton exports.

The country opened its market for U.S. pork products last year, and Torres Small says India will start importing U.S. cherries in July.

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