United Dairymen of Arizona part of Russia trade mission, Dec. 3-7

United Dairymen of Arizona will be among nearly two dozen organizations and companies headed to Russia, Dec. 3-7, on a trade mission to promote U.S. ag exports. The mission, led by USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, will also include representatives of some other major dairy states, including Idaho and Missouri.

The House of Representatives recently approved H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012, in a bipartisan vote, 365-43. This bill ensures that U.S. agricultural producers can benefit from Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) by establishing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).

The National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council actively supported approval of PNTR with Russia as part of work necessary to reopen the dairy market to U.S. exporters. The Russia dairy market has been closed to U.S. dairy products for more than two years due to Russian insistence on certain dairy certificate statements and accompanying facility inspection requirements that were not acceptable to the U.S.

With its recent WTO accession and rapidly expanding economy, Russia is an important market for U.S. agricultural products. Two-way agricultural trade between the United States and Russia was valued at roughly $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2012, with American farm exports accounting for 97% of the total – a significant contribution to the U.S. agricultural trade surplus.

Today, only 1% of U.S. companies export, and yet 95% of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the United States, creating significant opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture.