The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will lead a trade mission March 14 to March 18 with the goal to further expand export opportunities for U.S. agriculture in Chile and Peru.

U.S. ag exports to Peru have nearly tripled since 2009, and exports to Chile have increased more than 500 percent since 2004 because of the enactment of trade agreements. USDA contends ag exports can be increased even more dramatically.

"Thanks to existing free trade agreements, the United States enjoys strong trading relationships with both Chile and Peru," said Vilsack. "In addition, both nations are part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which if implemented will boost the Chilean and Peruvian economies and tighten integration with the U.S. economy, helping further expand demand for U.S. agricultural products."

The United States entered into a trade agreement with Peru in 2009 that slashed agricultural tariffs and improved market access for many U.S. products. As a result, U.S. farm and food exports to Peru have nearly tripled, reaching a record $1.25 billion in fiscal year 2015. In the Chilean market, all U.S. products enjoy duty-free access as of 2015, thanks to the free trade agreement enacted in 2004. Since 2004, U.S. exports to Chile have grown more than 500 percent, totaling $803 million in fiscal year 2015.

"In both Chile and Peru, steady economic growth and an expanding middle-class population are fueling demand for high-quality, made-in-America food and agricultural products. Now that the United States enjoys open access to these markets, it's a great time for U.S. companies—especially small- and medium-sized enterprises—to start or expand their exports there," Vilsack said.

USDA trade missions are conducted to "open doors and deliver results for U.S. exporters, giving them the opportunity to forge relationships with potential customers and trading partners, interact with host government officials, and gather market intelligence that will help develop strategies to expand sales in key markets overseas."

Additional information about the Peru-Chile mission, including application materials, is available at