U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh arrived Tuesday, June 21 in London for a USDA agribusiness trade mission to the United Kingdom. Bronaugh was joined by representatives from 37 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations who were interested in exploring export opportunities. Bronaugh says this trade mission was very successful and is confident this the mission will help the U.S. continue to exceed trade expectations and meet the needs of U.K. consumers for years to come.
Bronaugh says she was honoroed to lead the diverse group of U.S. agribusinesses and representatives to the United Kingdom where mission participants could engage with potential customers. “The United Kingdom is a valued trading partner whose consumers demand the best quality products at a competitive price," she notes.
The United Kingdom imported $1.9 billion of U.S. agricultural products in 2021. The recent mission included more than 235 business-to-business meetings with U.K. buyers with 21 U.S. companies participating in hopes of expanding opportunities to get high quality safe and affordable U.S. ag products into the U.K.
Other goals of the trade mission according to Bronaugh included encouraging science-based and data-driven decision making in the U.K. in regards to the future of agriculture, discussing efforts to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade, and encouraging the U.K. to sign on to USDA's Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation (SPG Coalition). George Eustice, U.K. Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, did agree to sign on to the SPG Coalition and made the announcement during Parliament.
Eustice also shared optimism that the Genetic Technology Bill currently before Parliament will be signed into effect by the end of 2022. This action would remove unnecessary barriers to research into new gene editing technology, which for too long has been held back by the EU’s rules around gene editing.
Representatives from both the U.S. and the U.K. were hopeful during the trade mission that a free trade agreement could be developed between the countries. This meeting was the first step to build understanding on how to knock down trade barriers before the formal agreement. Bronaugh says President Joe Biden and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will continue building upon conversations recently held in London to work toward a formal free trade agreement.
The next USDA ag trade mission is scheduled for July 18-21, 2022 to Manila, Philippines. The Philippines is the eighth-largest export market for U.S. agricultural and food exports, averaging $3.1 billion annually during the last five years.