USDA announced this week Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead a trade mission in March to Chile and Peru in order to expand export opportunities for US agricultural products.

“Thanks to existing free trade agreements, the United States enjoys strong trading relationships with both Chile and Peru,” Vilsack says. “In addition, both nations are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which if implemented will boost the Chilean and Peruvian economies and tighten integration with the US economy, helping further expand demand for US agricultural products.”

The United States entered into a trade agreement with Peru in 2009 that slashed agricultural tariffs and improved market access for many US products. As a result, US farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in 2015. In the Chilean market, all US products enjoy duty-free access as of 2015. This is possible because of the free trade agreement enacted in 2004. Since 2004, US exports to Chile have grown more than 500 percent, totaling $803 million in fiscal year 2015, according to USDA.

“In both Chile and Peru, steady economic growth and an expanding middle-class population are fueling demand for high-quality, made-in-America food and agricultural products,” Vilsack says. “Now that the United States enjoys open access to these markets, it's a great time for US companies – especially small- and medium-sized enterprises – to start or expand their exports there.”

More information on the mission is available here.