A press release from USDA on Tuesday says that more progress is being made from China to fulfill the Phase One Trade Agreement, including them conditionally lifting a ban on imports of beef and beef products from animals over 30 months of age.
While that is certainly positive news, we still have an awful lot of agriculture’s eggs, so to speak, in the Chinese basket.
Indiana’s own Ted McKinney, Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs recently told the National Association of State Directors of Agriculture, “If I have one legacy, I hope it is that we have helped to at least start diversifying our portfolio.”
McKinney emphasized that while China has been a great market, the past couple of years have taught us that they shouldn’t be the only market.
“When the soybean folks had the opportunities in China, you’re doggone right they’re going to take it. When fruits and vegetable crops and nut crops opened in so many markets, of course these markets are going to be chased by these people, but we’ve also seen what can happen when you’re strung out and too long, or too prominent, in one market.”
So, what are the market opportunities where McKinney thinks we can capitalize?
“Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, I think I look at them all about the same way. They’re growing. Philippines just set another new record in purchases from the U.S.”
These are all countries where McKinney has traveled during his tenure as undersecretary. He explains why he’s bullish on those markets.
“Save for Europe, all other countries I’ve been to, and it’s been 25 of them now with about 400,000 to 450,000 air miles, love our product. Safety, quality, and in some cases, volumes are not even in question.”