USDA expects record trade deficit to be short-lived

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he expects the U.S. agricultural trade gap to be adjusted in the next few years.

Ohio Congressman Max Miller questioned what his plans were to address the trade deficit which nearly doubled last year to $30 billion as part of a U.S. House Ag Committee hearing Wednesday.

“The reality is, when the Chinese economy suffers, basically exports suffer,” Vilsack explained. “When our economy is stronger than any other economy in the industrialized world, our consumers are able to purchase more world consumers are able to purchase less, that impacts exports.”’

Vilsack said the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program will help the U.S. enter new markets and diversify its customer base.

“I think we will be cost competitive, and I think you’re going to continue to see an uptick in exports,” Vilsack replied. “We did have record years in exports the last couple of years and I expect and anticipate that we will get that we will get that surplus back, but it’s going to take a year or two.”

The $1.3 billion program funded by the Commodity Credit Corporation is the result of bipartisan requests in the Senate Ag Committee and doubles trade market access funding for the next five years outside of farm bill programs.  USDA also has announced six trade missions for 2024.

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