WASHINGTON – Thad Lively, US Meat Export Federation senior vice president for trade access, said USMEF has used Emerging Markets Program (EMP) funds to help change the thinking of public officials in international markets about the safety of US beef in the aftermath of the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the US in 2003. Lively made these comments while testifying on behalf of the Emerging EMP on April 7 before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Rural Development, Biotech and Foreign Ag public hearing.

“The Emerging Markets Program provides funding to private and public organizations for technical assistance activities that improve access to emerging markets,” Lively said. “Emerging markets include countries as diverse as China, Malaysia, Mexico and Russia.”

USMEF’s experience with EMP has been centered on projects that addressed market access constraints, Lively said.

Lively was one of five witnesses to testify on April 7 on behalf of the Coalition to Promote US Agricultural Exports. They reported on the success of existing public-private partnerships in increasing American competitiveness in global agricultural markets. The programs they addressed were the Market Access Program (MAP), Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program, the Quality Samples program and EMP.

The MAP and FMD programs have a proven record of success, according to a recent study on the programs the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) commissioned from IHS Global Insights, an economic research firm. The study found MAP and FMD have boosted agricultural exports by $6.1 billion and provided a 35 to one return on investment.

From 2002 to 2009, export gains associated with MAP and FMD increased US farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and increased net farm income by $1.5 billion, the study further shows. It also stated farm support payments were reduced by about $54 million annually due to higher prices resulting from increased demand, thus reducing the net cost of the programs.