Officials optimistic about trade opportunities in India

USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor is optimistic about future trade opportunities with India.

Taylor told reporters during a call Wednesday that the country reduced tariffs on several agricultural products (almonds, apples, chickpeas, lentils, walnuts, blueberries, cranberries, turkeys, and frozen duck) in 2023. “USDA estimates that these tariff reductions could expand trade by approximately $345 million this year alone in additional exports,” he says.

Taylor says India’s population has 634 million people under the age of 24 and a growing middle class, making it is an important market for US agricultural goods. “This excitement, I think, for India is with the new Regional Agriculture Promotion Program known as RAPP,” he says.  “We’ve received $80 million in requests. And so, I think that really shows the excitement that our agriculture community that states from across the country have in this really important market.”

She says India currently prohibits ethanol for fuel use, but the country is committed to making E20 available by 2025 and that’s good for the U.S. corn and ethanol industries. “Whether it’s on expanding exports of ethanol to be able to go to fuel directly or even the feedstock to be able to support their own ethanol production,” she says.  Taylor says that would also provide an added byproduct of protein-rich DDGs that could be used to address the country’s animal feed shortage.

Katie Nelson, deputy director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, says that’s good news for Hoosier farmers.  “We are great at producing ethanol and corn in Indiana,” she says.  “So we’re really excited about India’s goal to be E20. And so, we hope that we can contribute to that as well.”

Nelson says the lower tariff rate on duck and turkey creates export opportunities for the state.

The trade delegation was made up of officials from 47 U.S. agribusiness and farm organizations and 11 state departments of agriculture. 

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