Ted McKinney leads his first trade mission as USDA Under Secretary. McKinney is Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.
He led a trade group to India last week. The trade group was comprised of 50 people, representing 29 agricultural associations, companies and state governments. The goal of the trade mission was to boost trade opportunities between the United States and India.
“To build on public/private engagement was our first objective. The second objective was to achieve new business contracts that would be beneficial to both parties. Of course, we want to export. We need to export, but we also have to understand they want to export. So we’re finding those areas of common ground,” McKinney.
The trade group spoke with officials from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India. McKinney said India, in particular, is taking steps to improve its viability in world markets.
“On a periodic basis, the World Bank issues a survey, an analysis on where countries rank in terms of ease of doing business with them, and India made a significant rise,” McKinney said. “They had been at 130th and moved to 100th. And we feel that commitment to change.”
The United States and India have had differences in the past over trade. Both countries were able to hash out differences during the trade mission.
“We’ve had many discussions on various issues the United States faces with India. In exchange, they’ve shared observations on issues they have with the United States. In every case, it was a straight forward, honest and direct conservation. Nonetheless, (it was) very productive with a repeated desire to move forward, ease this barrier and move forward more productively and efficiently with trade,” McKinney said.
McKinney adds the United States currently does business in India, but there is opportunity for more business in the future.