The good news for U.S. agricultural trade comes in the form of $90 million in funding under the 2002 Farm Bill Market Access Program, portions of which will be offered to 67 U.S. trade organizations. MAP provides trade associations, state and regional trade groups and agricultural cooperatives a means to promote products and build overseas markets.

The U.S. Meat Export Federation will receive more than $8.5 million for fiscal year 2002. USMEF has been a USDA cooperator for 26 years. During that time, U.S. meat exports have grown from 247,000 metric tons to more than 1.99 million metric tons last year. Value has increased from less than $500,000 to $5 billion today.

Still, for the first time since 1985, total U.S. meat exports are expected to decline, according to USDA. The primary reason is lower poultry exports, which are forecast to decline 11 percent from 2001 levels. Total U.S. meat exports are anticipated to recover in 2003, but are still forecast slightly below 2001's record-setting level.

U.S. pork exports for 2002 are projected at 674,000 tons, a 5 percent decline from last year's record. During 2001, the United States exported 709,000 tons, on expanded shipments to Japan and Mexico. Pork exports for 2003 are forecast to recover and nearly reach the 2001 record quota.

USDA Secretary Ann Veneman and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has outlined a framework to boost agricultural exports. It includes: the use of trade promotion programs for U.S. agricultural products overseas; aggressive plans for world trade negotiations and free-trade agreements; attacks on trade barriers and subsidies that hurt U.S. agriculture and efforts to increase world demand through economic growth and sustainable development