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Foreign Agricultural Service

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) works to improve foreign market access for U.S. products, to build new markets, to improve the competitive position of U.S. agriculture in the global marketplace, and to provide food aid and technical assistance to foreign countries.

FAS has the primary responsibility for USDA's activities in the areas of international marketing, trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection and analysis of international statistics and market information. It also administers the USDA's export credit guarantee and food aid programs. FAS helps increase income and food availability in developing nations by mobilizing expertise for agriculturally led economic growth.

FAS also enhances U.S. agricultural competitiveness through a global network of agricultural economists, marketing experts, negotiators, and other specialists. FAS agricultural counselors, attaches, trade officers, and locally employed FAS staff stationed in over 90 countries support U.S. agricultural interests and cover 140 countries.

In addition to agricultural affairs offices in U.S. embassies, agricultural trade offices also have been established in a number of key foreign markets and function as service centers for U.S. exporters and foreign buyers seeking market information.

Reports prepared by our overseas offices cover changes in policies and other developments that could affect U.S. agricultural exports. FAS staff in U.S. embassies around the world assess U.S. export marketing opportunities and respond to the daily informational needs of those who develop, initiate, monitor, and evaluate U.S. food and agricultural policies and programs.

In addition to data collection, FAS also maintains a worldwide agricultural reporting system based on information from U.S. agricultural traders, remote sensing systems, and other sources. Analysts in Washington, DC, prepare production forecasts, assess export marketing opportunities, and track changes in policies affecting U.S. agricultural exports and imports.

FAS programs help U.S. exporters develop and maintain markets for hundreds of food and agricultural products, from bulk commodities to brand name items. Formal market promotion activities are carried out chiefly in cooperation with agricultural trade associations, State-regional trade groups, small businesses, and cooperatives that plan, manage, and contribute staff resources and funds to support these efforts. FAS also provides guidance to help exporters locate buyers and provides assistance through a variety of other methods. This includes supporting U.S. participation in several major trade shows and a number of single-industry exhibitions each year.

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