The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) plays a vital role in ensuring the free flow of agricultural trade. APHIS' efforts include keeping U.S. agricultural industries free from pests and diseases and certifying that the millions of U.S. agricultural and food products shipped to markets abroad meet the importing countries' entry requirements. APHIS makes sure that all imported agricultural products shipped to the United States from abroad meet the Agency's entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.
APHIS also keeps export markets open for American agricultural products by working to eliminate unjustified sanitary or phytosanitary (SPS) barriers - that is, concerns involving plant and animal health - raised by U.S. trading partners. APHIS' team of technical experts, based in the United States and abroad, includes scientists, veterinarians, pathologists, and entomologists that advocate on behalf of U.S. agriculture. They build relationships with their agricultural health and regulatory counterparts in other countries and use scientific principles to make the case for American agricultural exports, explaining to foreign officials why U.S. commodities are safe to import. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, APHIS played a direct role in opening new markets and retaining and expanding existing market access for U.S. agricultural products valued at $1.68 billion.
APHIS works closely with its partners at USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative to maintain a coordinated, strategic approach to resolving SPS trade-barrier issues and other trade policy challenges facing the Agency. In addition, APHIS personnel play leadership roles within international standard-setting organizations, such as the World Organization for Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention, that develop science-based standards for the safe trade in agricultural products between countries.
APHIS also helps to resolve urgent problems involving U.S. shipments detained at foreign ports of entry. APHIS personnel stationed in countries overseas work closely with their foreign counterparts in such situations to answer their questions, provide requested information, and hopefully negotiate a favorable outcome for the U.S. exporter. In FY11, APHIS successfully obtained the release over 300 individual shipments of U.S. agricultural products, worth more than $90 million.
APHIS is committed to removing trade barriers related to animal and plant health concerns, protecting and expanding existing markets, and opening new market access for U.S. agricultural exports. See below for more information on the outcomes of APHIS' efforts on behalf of exporters in FY2012 or click on the links to the right to learn more about the services APHIS provides for agricultural exporters.
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