USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Outlines Benefits of Export Credit Guarantee Program for Ag Exports to Middle East

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December 14, 2020

Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)and American livestock exporters underscored the benefits of the USDA’s Export Credit Guarantee Program in facilitating agricultural trade between the U.S. and the U.A.E. Please find a full recording here of these remarks, which took place on 14 December 2020 during a virtual industry meeting co-hosted by the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council and the USDA FAS in Dubai.

Valerie Brown, Regional Agricultural Counselor for the FAS in Dubai, opened the session by welcoming guests and outlining the role of the FAS in supporting U.S. agricultural exports. She explained, “We are here to help, assist, support, and cheer you on to success.” She also thanked the U.A.E. Government for recently lifting its ban on U.S. live cattle exports.

Jeff Albanese, an Agricultural Marketing Specialist in the USDA FAS Credit Programs Division spoke next about the specifics of the credit guarantee program. He explained that the GSM-102 program aims to “provide credit guarantees to encourage financing of U.S. agricultural commodity exports,” and outlined the requirements and processes of the letter of credit-driven program that mitigates foreign non-payment risk for U.S. exporters. In describing the benefits of the program, he said that under the GSM-102 program, “exporters have the ability to target markets with greater risk, expand business, and receive immediate payment.”

Tim Hunt, the USDA FAS Credit Programs Division’s Middle East representative, outlined the USDA’s facility guarantee program, which is a loan guarantee program designed to facilitate development or improvement of agricultural-related facilities and infrastructure in emerging markets. Please find the USDA presentation here.

The webinar continued with presentations from Martin Siber of the U.S. Livestock Genetics Export Inc. and Dr. Gerardo Quassdorff of the Livestock Exporters Association of the USA. In his presentation, Martin detailed key considerations in exporting live cattle to the U.A.E., including animal health and genetics requirements.

Tony Clayton, President of Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc. then shared his experience using the GSM-102 program. Clayton Agri-Marketing Inc. is one of the largest exporters in the U.S. focusing on the live animal trade of beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats, horses, sheep, and equipment. Tony provided practical guidance for U.S. live animal exporters, recommending that exporters be involved with all parties in the program, including banks. He also recommended that exporters familiarize themselves with the timeline involved for the application and delivery of the product and engage in adequate long-term planning in the shipment of live cattle. Please find Tony Clayton’s presentation here.

The program concluded with a question and answer session moderated by Danny Sebright. Panelists spotlighted the benefits of the program for importers, noting that U.S. exports are of especially high quality. Tony Clayton and Gerardo Quassdorff then provided insights into regulations and strategies for acclimating cattle to hot climates such as strategically sending cattle at the coolest times of year and putting fewer animals on vessels to hot climates.

The Foreign Agricultural Service in Dubai concluded the program by welcoming companies to reach out with any additional questions. For inquiries, please contact Lucas Blaustein, Regional Agricultural Attaché at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, at Lucas.Blaustein@USDA.gov.

For more information about the Business Council’s programming in the agriculture sector, please see here or contact Mary Zuccarello at mzuccarello@usuaebusiness.org.