Successful Export of Agricultural Products in 2011

Hanson Marketing has made great use of several tried and true, publicly-run business development agency programs when establishing selling channels worldwide. Among them is the Foreign Agricultural Service at the US Department of Agriculture. In 2010, we took part in a novel program in Brazil, on behalf of our client who makes gourmet sea salt in Hawaii. The Sao Paulo office of USDA connected us, at no charge, with a pre-qualified short list of prospective wholesale channel partners. The process was soup-to-nuts: all we did was ship a set of samples and literature to their US address (how easy!) and they took it from there. Though sales have not yet materialized, must say it was a smoothly run operation, and a great example of how a public agency thinks and responds like a private company. Total cost to participate? Zero.

In 2011, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is leading the way for exporters of US-grown agriculture products to meet new channel partners and customers at a series of valuable selling events. Also, check out this national trade association of state agriculture commissions here.

Scan this one-pager listing key shows for 2011. Choose a market, then go!

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South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement

Wall Street Journal reports that the US auto industry has gained a strong concession in the terms of this FTA. The revised pact allows the U.S. five years to phase out a 2.5% tariff it levies on South Korean-built cars, rather than cutting the tariff immediately, as provided for in the original agreement struck in 2007.

After inconclusive negotiations between US and South Korea during last month’s G-20 agenda, North Korea’s recent attack on South Korean territory may have propelled the negotiation teams back to the table. In January, expect some bi-partisan drama as Congress reconvenes, spoiling for a fight before ultimately passing the deal at the recommendation of Ford Motors and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Seoul would immediately cut its tariff on U.S. auto imports in half, to 4%. A 25% tariff levied by the U.S. on South Korean truck imports would remain in place for eight years, while the corresponding South Korean tariff on U.S. trucks, 10%, would be cut immediately.

Overall, U.S. businesses that stand to benefit from a South Korea free-trade agreement include financial services, agriculture and manufacturers of big-ticket capital goods.

Speaking of food, reactions from Montana lawmakers tell how the beef industry’s desired concessions by South Korea didn’t get as far as those of automakers. Meanwhile, as import food prices fall for Koreans once the FTA takes effect, US citrus growers appear to be first in line for agriculture export gains.

Think about the potential for frozen juice and dried fruit, let alone fresh produce and nuts. Western US growers will get to the market first, so expect agriculture trade associations in that region to mobilize with trade shows and matchmaking trips.

Branded Program Webinar: Affordably-built Export Strategies

Publicly-funded Branded Programs assist qualifying companies that are ready to export internationally disbursing matching marketing federal funds for advertising, international trade shows, in-store demos and other eligible promotional expenses.

Federally funded Market Access Programs (MAP) are tailor-made for agricultural and other product providers. If you or anyone within your circle of excellence is actively engaged in these areas, I highly recommend you reach out to your local department of commerce and department of agriculture offices for more information.

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