A brief overview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its role in assisting exporters. This information is taken from "A Basic Guide to Exporting" provided by the U.S. Commercial Service to assist U.S. companies in exporting.
Last Published: 10/20/2016
U.S. Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers exporting assistance through the Office of Outreach and Exporter Assistance (OOEA). Part of the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS, www.fas.usda.gov), OOEA serves as the first point of contact for exporters of U.S. food, farm, and forest products. It provides guidance, referrals, and access to foreign market information and assistance in getting information about export-related programs managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies.

The FAS has officers and market experts at many U.S. embassies around the world. It also serves as a contact point for minority-owned and small businesses seeking assistance in these areas. OOEA will provide basic export counseling and connect you to the appropriate export program, such as the Market Access Program.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides several programs to assist in the financing of exports of U.S. agricultural goods.

The USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) administers export credit guarantees for commercial financing of U.S. agricultural exports. The guarantees encourage exports to buyers in countries where credit is necessary to maintain or increase U.S. sales but where financing may not be available without CCC guarantees.

The Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102) covers credit terms up to 3 years. GSM-102 underwrites creditextended by the private banking sector in the United States (or, less commonly, by the U.S. exporter) toapproved foreign banks; dollar-denominated, irrevocable letters of credit are used to pay for food and agricultural products sold to foreign buyers.

The USDA may be better known for its domestic programs,but it also offers essential export related services.

The Supplier Credit Guarantee Program (SCGP) is designed to make it easier for exporters to sell U.S. food products overseas by insuring short-term, open-account financing. Under the security of the SCGP, U.S. exporters become more competitive by extending longer credit terms or increasing the amount of credit available to foreign buyers without increasing financial risk. Foreign buyers benefit because they can increase their purchasing power and profit opportunities and can gain significant advantages in cash flow management.

The Facility Guarantee Program (FGP) provides payment guarantees to facilitate the financing of manufactured goods and services exported from the United States to improve or establish agriculture-related facilities in emerging markets. By supporting such facilities, the FGP is designed to enhance sales of U.S. agricultural commodities and products to emerging markets, where the demand for such commodities and products may be constricted because of inadequate storage, processing, or handling capabilities for the products.

The FAS General Sales Manager (GSM) Online System http://1.usa.gov/1umkzm1 enables U.S. exporters and U.S. banks to submit required documentation electronically for the GSM-102, SCGP, and FGP. Exporters who need further information should contact the FAS Contract and Registration branch at (202) 720-3224 or askgsm@fas.usda.gov.

U S Department of Agriculture