WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture’s new resource for exporters is all about making connections.

The Foreign Agricultural Service of the USDA recently launched Trade Lead, a new online system that connects exporters of US food and agricultural products to potential customers in foreign markets. International buyers can also access Trade Lead to search for potential suppliers.

FAS said all potential sales leads are vetted by the agency’s international offices and immediately distributed through the system to all registered users including nearly 100 agricultural trade associations and their members, state departments of agriculture and state and regional trade groups that partner with USDA to promote exports of agricultural products.

“The Trade Lead Systemis one of the many services and tools USDA offers for those exploring overseas market opportunities for their products,” Christian Foster, FAS deputy administrator, Office of Trade Programs, said in a statement. “This free-of-charge system offers any company, small or large, new to exporting or already exporting, a real-time way of learning what agricultural or food products are being sought by foreign buyers.”

Foster added that US suppliers can select the types of leads they want to receive, and can respond to purchase requests directly with the customer, through their trade association or receive support from one of 96 international FAS offices.