Originally posted on Reuters.com – 9/21/2011

Hingle, SUSTA’s Executive Director, Reappointed to Key U.S. International Trade Position to Influence National Policy, Help Local Companies Go Global

The Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA) announced today that its executive director, Jerry Hingle, has been reappointed to a key U.S. international trade role as a member of the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade (ATAC). The position allows the local non-profit organization to help shape U.S. international trade policy and give companies in Louisiana and throughout the region headway in international markets.

ATAC appointees provide the U.S. Agriculture Secretary and U.S. Trade Representative with expertise and knowledge to guide negotiating objectives in areas such as international free-trade agreements and overcoming foreign import barriers on U.S. goods.

“The ATACs give American business interests direct and real-time input on foreign trade policy decisions,” Hingle said. “And with worldwide demand for food and agriculture projected to rise sharply over the coming decades, it’s critical for us to be at the table to ensure that local exporters get a part of this growth,” he added.

Expanding U.S. exports is an important priority for Washington because it is key to revitalizing the economy and increasing jobs. U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach a record $137 billion this year, and the agriculture industry is one of the few sectors of the American economy enjoying a healthy trade surplus. Louisiana’s agriculture exports are up 40% this year, and more agricultural products are exported from Louisiana than any other state in the nation.

“Aggressive efforts to promote U.S. food and agriculture internationally and ensuring that our exporters have fair and equitable access to these markets are critical parts of this success,” Hingle explained. “I look forward to helping point trade policy negotiators toward foreign market segments that are of the greatest interest to our industry.”

Nationwide, fewer than 150 appointees have been named to the committees. Hingle was first named to the ATAC panel in 2008 and previously served for four years on a similar committee under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Southern United States Trade Association is a non-profit trade development association composed of the Departments of Agriculture of the 15 southern states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Since 1973, its programs and services have assisted exporters of high-value food and agricultural products. SUSTA is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), its member states and private companies.

SUSTA prohibits discrimination in employment and services. Persons who require alternate means for communication of program information or those wanting the full non-discrimination policy should contact SUSTA.

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