California Ag Leaders Back from South Korea Trade Mission

Sabrina Halvorson Agri-Business, Trade

Several California agricultural leaders, including Ag Secretary Karen Ross, are back from a week-long trade mission overseas. Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis M. Taylor led the South Korea trade mission, which included representatives from 49 companies and organizations from around the U.S. Taylor said it was a success that offered a lot of opportunities for California’s specialty crops.

“I think we are able to really expand and showcase what we can provide, what we can export, and how that can really benefit Korean consumers,” she said. “We had several California fresh fruit sectors represented, some tree nuts represented. So, while we have exports there, I think we are also looking to continue to grow and expand those. We’re working on expanded market access, for instance, of nectarines and so the Tree Fruit Association was there because they have some interest in already exporting, but also looking towards potentially new market access for California nectarines.”

She said there was strong interest in U.S. fruit and vegetables, nuts, dairy and eggs, coffee, and distilled spirits. Pet foods and consumer-packaged goods like condiments and sauces were also on the list.

“At USDA, we are really focused on market diversification and opening doors, helping build relationships for U.S. food and agricultural exporters and our industries and markets all over the world. And I think Korea being our fifth largest market is really key to that market diversification work,” she said. “U.S. food and agricultural products are really recognized by South Korean consumers and importers for their reliability, their quality, and their sustainability as well. South Korean consumers really value food safety and what they’re choosing to eat in the U.S. brand has really strong safety associated with it.”

Taylor said it was one of several trade missions planned for the year, with the next being at the end of this month in India.

“I’m really excited. We have a strong U.S. delegation already signed up to go to India. Last year the Biden-Harris administration was able to reduce tariffs on roughly 10 products in India in the food and ag space [including] a lot of our specialty crops,” Taylor said. “So, we’re excited to be taking food and agricultural businesses back to begin the process of rebuilding back to those consumers and rebuilding that market share.”

You can learn more about upcoming trade missions on the USDA website.

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet News Hour and The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.