India is poised to become a more active trading partner with the United States, according to Ted McKinney, U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. McKinney recently traveled to India for his first USDA international trade mission.

“Ag trade missions are a common occurrence,” McKinney said. “It is USDA and the federal government’s way of introducing and assisting any number of businesses and trade associations to find new markets. We understand that trade is a two-way street and as long as rules are followed we embrace imports to the U.S., as well.”

A large group of 50 people representing 29 U.S. companies and associations traveled with McKinney to India. A wide array of products were represented including almonds, swine genetics, pulse and lentil type products, ethanol, corn, soybeans, the American Seed Trade Association, grain sorghum, cranberries and peanuts.

The trade mission held over 465 business to business meetings while they were in India. McKinney thought this might be an all time record for an agricultural trade trade mission.

There were three primary objectives for this trade mission. The first was to build on existing public/private engagements with partners in India. The second objective was to achieve new business contacts that might beneficial to both parties. Finally the mission wanted to advance the trade policy relationship between the U.S. and India.

“Everyone has been positively received and had very productive visits,” McKinney said. “The response has been nothing short of overwhelming, warm and embracing at all levels.”

“Many people might look at India and think this is a country of great need,” McKinney said. “However, several speakers said we should look at this country as in need of enhanced nutrition. They are getting much closer to self-sufficiency but both for their people and their livestock and poultry enhanced nutrition is an area of focus.”

While there are numerous trade barriers and tariffs in place that make trade difficult, McKinney said he is seeing change. India is working to become an easier place to do business. The World Bank conducts a survey were it ranks countries around the world according to the ease of doing business. In the latest survey India moved from 130th on the list to No. 100.

McKinney said India is a country where the U.S. doing business and can do even more business in the future. India is currently the 17th largest export market for agricultural exports from the U.S.

Doug Rich can be reached at 785-749-5304 or

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