RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe will lead a trade and marketing mission to Bogotá, Colombia, from August 16-19. The Governor will be accompanied by Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, representatives from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), and a number of Virginia agribusinesses and distributors. The Colombian Ambassador to the United States, Juan Carlos Pinzón, invited Governor McAuliffe earlier this year to lead an agricultural trade and marketing mission to Colombia to grow the relationship between Virginia and Colombia and capitalize on the benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect in 2012.
“To help build the new Virginia economy, we must look for sales opportunities around the world for Virginia businesses while also recruiting new investments to the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Missions like this one are critical to our efforts to spur new exports and economic development. I am grateful for Ambassador Pinzón’s invitation and I am excited to make my first visit to South America as Governor and establish new export deals for agriculture, Virginia’s largest private industry."
This week’s trip marks the Governor’s 20th trade and marketing mission and his first to Colombia. During the two-day mission, the Governor will meet with senior business executives, government leaders, and others to strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between Virginia and Colombia, bolstering the export of Virginia agriculture and forestry products, recruiting new investment to the Commonwealth, and promoting the state’s overall positive business environment. His delegation will attend more than 40 meetings over the course of the mission.
“With more than 90 percent of the world’s customer base living outside the U.S., it is imperative that we promote Virginia’s world-class businesses and products in the international marketplace” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. “Thanks to the Commonwealth’s global network of trade representatives and our international marketing team at VDACS, we are able to do both, opportunities that are especially important for our smaller agriculture and forestry operations that may not have the capacity to market their products internationally on their own.”
Agriculture and forestry exports from Virginia totaled $3.19 billion in 2015, the second highest value ever. Virginia’s agriculture and forestry exports to Colombia reached a new high in 2015, at $54.5 million including exports of pork, grains and soybean meal, among others. Colombia was Virginia’s 15th largest customer for agriculture and forestry exports in 2015.