U.S. Agribusinesses on Trade Mission to Peru-Ecuador Look Forward to Making Sales, Forming Partnerships
Last week in his State of the Union address, President Obama talked about re-inventing our country “to make America the best place on Earth to do business.” He talked about creating new jobs and industries to re-energize our economy. He talked about the goal of doubling exports by the close of 2014 because the more we export the more jobs we create here at home.
Here at USDA, we are working every day to answer the President’s call. That is why I arrived in Lima, Peru, over the weekend to lead 20 U.S. agribusinesses on a trade and investment mission to develop business ties and explore opportunities for joint ventures with some 150 Peruvian and Ecuadorian companies. These U.S. companies represent the full range of food and agricultural products from bulk commodities to consumer-ready food products.
Peru and Ecuador are attractive investment markets. Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America. In 2010, the economy was expected to post a real gain of roughly nine percent. From 2005 to 2010, Ecuador’s economy grew 17 percent. Economic growth in both countries has contributed to rising demand for all sorts of food and agricultural products.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how Peruvian consumers are driving the country’s current economic growth. I toured Wong supermarket, started by Erasmo Wong, a Chinese Peruvian, in 1942. It has grown to be the largest supermarket chain in Peru with 27 stores in Lima and many more in countries throughout the region. On the tour I saw a wide assortment of U.S. products available for Peruvian consumers, things from apples and pears in the fresh produce section, to snack foods, sweets, wines and meats. Approximately 70 percent of the products come from local importers, the very companies that our U.S. agribusinesses will be meeting with during the trade mission.
Today, I will launch the mission with support from the Chargé d’Affaires Bruce Williamson at the American Embassy here in Lima. My next blog post will focus on today’s events.