APHIS develops and implements international capacity building programs to assist in achieving its strategic goals. These programs are designed to identify and reduce agricultural pest and disease threats while still outside of U.S. borders in order to enhance safe agricultural trade and to strengthen emergency response preparedness. They also help foreign counterparts meet their World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations applying science to questions of animal and plant health that may affect trade. Capacity building includes training and technology transfer to assist foreign partners in building their animal and plant health infrastructures which, in return, helps to reduce the likelihood of undetected agricultural threat pathways into the United States.
APHIS' International Technical and Regulatory Capacity Building Center coordinates APHIS' efforts to improve the capacity of foreign government counterparts. APHIS responds to requests for technical assistance and capacity building from foreign counterparts that help meet APHIS safeguarding and trade goals. We also partner with other US Government agencies to participate in programs that advance US foreign policy objectives, including trade, global health, and international security. APHIS and its partners develop training and technology transfer programs that help build the animal and plant health infrastructure of foreign counterparts.
The International Technical and Regulatory Capacity Building (ITRCB) Center plays a significant role in support of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s mission to protect and promote U.S. agricultural health, regulate genetically engineered organisms, administer the Animal Welfare Act, and carry out wildlife damage management activities. In an increasingly globalized economy, the ITRCB Center specializes in program coordination including technical and regulatory capacity building efforts with U.S. and foreign government counterparts. Programs supporting sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues related to safeguarding of U.S. agriculture from foreign plant pests and animal diseases comprise a significant proportion of ITRCB efforts. Capacity building activities supported by the ITRCB Center occur both in the United States and abroad and are a useful tool in fostering safe agricultural trade and maintaining technical and regulatory relationships with other countries and international organizations.
Accomplishments and Goals
Since its inception in 2007, the International Technical and Regulatory Capacity Building (ITRCB) Center has accomplished several key goals. The Center is now the central receiving point to manage incoming requests from foreign officials and partner U.S. Government agencies for APHIS subject-matter expertise and technical assistance. The ITRCB team coordinates the fulfillment of these requests while maintaining a primary focus on addressing domestic needs to serve and protect American agriculture. Requests for APHIS expertise or technical assistance may include topics such as veterinary epidemiology, regulatory processes and policy, wildlife control and surveillance, pest risk assessment, biotechnology, laboratory diagnostics, transboundary animal diseases, and other aspects of animal and plant health.
The ITRCB team also institutionalized six core animal and plant health training courses, which are held annually in the U.S. for international technical and regulatory counterparts. Course topics include Risk Analysis in Animal and Plant Health, Veterinary Epidemiology, Laboratory Diagnostic Networks, and Transboundary Animal Diseases. Condensed versions of the international animal and plant health courses are also held internationally, when funding and human resources permit, at the request of partner governments and U.S. Government agencies.
ITRCB press releases and blog posts, related websites, FAO, OIE, OCBD
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
"USDA Partners with Foreign Countries to Enhance Safeguards for American Agriculture" (07/23/2012)
World Organisation for Animal Health
USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service
In June 2012 plant health officials from Haiti, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Mexico participated in a Plant Health Systems Analysis course - one of the seven courses offered by APHIS International Services in 2012. (watch the video)
May 13, 2019 — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was in Japan as part of a meeting of Western Hemisphere agriculture leaders meeting on the margins of the G-20 Agricultural Ministerial in Niigata, Japan. On Monday, Secretary Perdue stopped to meet with U.S. and Japan trade negotiators in Tokyo. Secretary Perdue urged Japan to move swiftly to finalize a trade deal with Washington on farm products and other goods, and to recognize that the U.S. is a “premier customer” for Japan. Secretary Perdue took time to meet with U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty and the U.S. Embassy Team including APHIS-International Services staff.
Apr. 30, 2019 — APHIS met with officials from the Portuguese Ministry of Animal Health and representatives of the border inspection posts (BIPs) in Lisbon, Portugal. At the last such meeting held in 2014, Portugal informed APHIS they did not allow the import of used cooking oil, and APHIS presented the case for why Portugal should allow the import of used cooking oil intended for the manufacture of biodiesel as allowed by certain other EU Member States. At the April 23 meeting, Portugal verified that they had decided to open the market for used cooking oil from the United States under favorable conditions that do not require government certification. The estimated value of this market accomplishment is $25 million per year.
Sept. 18, 2019 — APHIS met with Thailand’s Department of Livestock and Development (DLD) in Bangkok, Thailand. APHIS and DLD discussed ongoing issues including U.S. turkey meat access, avian influenza regionalization, rendered meals, and inedible beef offal. In 2018, U.S. trade in animal and animal products reached $196 million.
August 25, 2019 — On the margins of the G-7 meeting, President Trump announced that the United States and Japan have agreed “in principle” to a bilateral trade deal involving agriculture and digital products. The deal would focus on lowering tariffs on a wide range of agricultural commodities such as beef, pork, ethanol, DDGs, and soymeal. This agreement will aid exporters who seek to compete with exports from other countries who have partnered with Japan through finalized free trade agreements (FTA).