NASDA’s second Emerging Market Program mission was in March to Thailand. Commissioner Hugh Weathers, Commissioner Doug Goehring, Director Jerry Costello II and New Mexico Marketing Director Jason New joined National Grain and Feed Association President and CEO Mike Seyfert for a week in Bangkok with NASDA.
The group met with the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives as well as leadership from the Office of Agricultural Economics and the Department of Agriculture. The challenges facing Thai agriculture were strikingly similar to those faced by agriculture in the U.S. There were specific requests for help in communicating with FDA and for technical support for Thai cooperatives to generate more value-added opportunities for Thai farmers. The group also toured the Laem Chabang Port Plant Quarantine Station where there was a request from the port leadership for support to improve training for their inspectors.
Over the course of the week, the group met with several Thai businesses in the food and agriculture sector including KCG Corp, Heritage Snacks & Food Co., Jagota Brothers Trading Co., the ASEAN Business Council, and C.P. Group, the largest feed company in the world.
NASDA also hosted a reception at VIV Asia, Asia’s leading international trade show for animal production and processing. The reception included Thai government leaders, Thai importers, U.S. cooperators, and exhibitors from the show. During the reception, Mike Seyfert provided an overview of improvements the U.S. has made and continues to make in the supply chain. As both an importer of U.S. goods and a large exporter to the U.S., delays at ports in the U.S. have caused issues for Thai businesses.
Thanks in large part to the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Ag Service post in Bangkok, the mission was a success in building relationships and positioning the US to be Thailand’s preferred trade partner. The week ended with lunch with the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Robert F. Godec, who voiced a commitment to expanding opportunities for US agricultural products in the region.
NASDA staff will be working closely to complete additional surveys in the country to inform our next steps. These trips are just the first step in building relationships to grow market opportunities for our producers around the world.