USDA Accepting Applications for Projects to Boost Agricultural Exports to Emerging Markets
The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for projects funded under the Facility Guarantee Program. In addition, USDA has issued a final rule outlining changes designed to expand FGP coverage and streamline the application process.
The FGP is designed to boost sales of U.S. agricultural products in countries where demand may be limited due to inadequate storage, processing, handling, or distribution capabilities. It provides credit guarantees to help finance the establishment or improvement of agriculture-related facilities and related activities as well as the procurement of goods or services to help facilitate imports of U.S. products. Examples of projects that may be funded under the FGP include improvements to cold storage facilities for imported perishable products, purchases of equipment to upgrade processing facilities for imported grains and oilseeds, or procurement of vehicles to transport imported goods from ports to distribution facilities.
The final rule revises the application process to reduce the burden on participants, with the USDA expanding its role in demonstrating a benefit to U.S. agricultural commodity exports. There will be an initial “letter of interest” stage during which participants may receive preliminary feedback from USDA on a proposed transaction or project. The rule will allow for coverage of non-U.S. goods if USDA determines that U.S. goods are not available or their use is not practical. It will also incorporate program modifications implemented in the GSM-102 Export Credit Guarantee Program.
This rule is effective as of Sept. 22 but comments on it may be submitted through March 20, 2017.