WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — Leaders from 34 U.S. agribusinesses and organizations will accompany U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on a trade mission to Peru and Chile, March 14-18, to expand export opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products.

Peru and Chile are also members of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which concluded negotiations in October 2015 on a historic trade agreement. Passage of TPP by the U.S. Congress will provide new market access across the board for America's farmers and ranchers by lowering tariffs, eliminating barriers, boosting exports and supporting jobs in America's rural economies.

"South America has been one of the fastest-growing world regions for exports of U.S. farm and food products, and Chile and Peru have been among the most rapidly growing markets in the region," said Vilsack. "I look forward to joining U.S. agricultural leaders to explore the many market opportunities that exist in this part of the world, particularly in light of the fact that both Chile and Peru are part of the TPP."

This mission begins in Peru, where U.S. agricultural and related product exports have more than doubled since the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement entered into force in 2009. The U.S. is already Peru's top supplier of both bulk and consumer-oriented products as well as imported ethanol, and the country's steady economic growth and expanding middle class point to further growth potential for U.S. exports across all sectors.

Participants will then travel to Chile, where all U.S. products enjoy duty-free access thanks to the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Since the agreement was enacted in 2004, U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Chile have grown nearly 600%, with the most significant increase being in high-value, consumer-oriented products.

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