The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it has with assistance from federal, international and industry partners successfully released 209 shipments of American products valued at more than $39 million in 2012.
The goods had been detained at foreign ports of entry pending resolution of various animal and plant health questions.
APHIS also said it helped open or maintain more than $51 million in overseas markets for U.S. agricultural products.
"APHIS works diligently every day to help ensure overseas markets for our country's agricultural products," said Rebecca Blue, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, in a statement. "In the past six months, APHIS has negotiated to reopen the Chinese market for U.S. log exports in a six-month pilot program, facilitated the first export of 1,400 cattle to Angola, helped California producers ship their stone fruit to important markets in Mexico, and arranged for the release of six shipments of cherries and $1.5 million of cotton held at Chinese ports."
When American shipments are detained at overseas ports of entry, APHIS and other USDA officials negotiate with international officials to resolve the issue. APHIS' technical staff certify that U.S. animal and plant products are free of pests and diseases and meet the entry requirements set by other countries. In negotiations to protect, expand, and open new trade markets, APHIS advocates on behalf of U.S. agricultural industries to ensure a free flow of American agricultural products in international markets.
In addition, APHIS recently launched a new Website
with trade-related information. The agency said the site will help exporters find information about its services, including trade information and regulations. It also serves as a "hub" for APHIS updates, with links to trade-related feeds from the agency's Newsroom, Twitter, and the USDA blog.