The Emerging Markets Program (EMP) is a market access program that provides funding for technical assistance activities proposed to promote exports of American agricultural commodities and products to emerging markets. The technical assistance that is offered includes feasibility studies, market research, sector assessments, orientation visits, specialized training, and business workshops. The EMP is administered by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The EMP has $10 million authorized annually from the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation. Private sector companies and government agencies can apply to the EMP for assistance. To be eligible for EMP assistance, companies and government agencies must be trying to promote American agricultural commodities, except tobacco. EMP funds can only be used to develop, maintain, or expand emerging markets for American agricultural commodities and products through. EMP funding cannot be used to support the export of another nations products to the US.
Definition of an Emerging Market
The Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 defines an "emerging market" as any country which "Is taking steps toward developing a market-oriented economy through the food, agriculture, or rural business sectors of the economy of the country and has the potential to provide a viable and significant market for US agricultural commodities or products of US agricultural commodities."
However, due to the limited funds of the EMP, the program will only consider proposals where the per capita income of the country or region is less than $12,475, and the population of the country or region is greater than one million.
Activities for Emerging Markets Program Funds
There are a number of categories of activities that EMP funds can be used for.
- Assessments - Funds can be used to assess the food and rural business systems of other nations. This can include conducting an assessment of the food and rural business system needs of an emerging market, making recommendations on measures necessary to enhance the effectiveness of these systems, or to identify opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the emerging market's food business systems.
- Travel From Emerging Market - Funds can be used to enable individuals from emerging markets to travel to the US for the purpose of enhancing the food business systems in their countries, and become familiar with US technology and agribusiness.
- Travel To Emerging Market - Funds can be used to enable American agricultural producers to travel to emerging markets to assist in transferring their knowledge to organizations in emerging markets.
- Travel To Emerging Market - Funds can be used for technical assistance to implement the recommendations, projects, and opportunities identified.
The FAS have identified a number of commodities that they consider to be more appropriate for funding. Although the EMP accepts funding requests from all industries there are a number of areas, which are considered a priority and may receive a more favorable weighting.
- Phytosanitary Issues - The EMP has highlighted that projects that specifically address various constraints to US exports, including food safety, food sanitary and phytosanitary issues are a priority.
- Distribution Channels - Studies of food distribution channels in emerging markets, including infrastructural impediments to US exports are also marked as a priority.
- New Products - There is a priority on projects that involve the marketing and distribution of value-added products, including new products or uses.
- Market Information - A priority is given to projects that help foreign governments to collect and use market information and to develop free trade policies that benefit US exporters.
- Training - Short-term training in agriculture is seen as a priority, including retail training, that will benefit American exporters, especially training designed to expand the potential for American agricultural exports.
- Reduce Trade Barriers - Priority is given to activities designed to improve country-wide food and business systems, to reduce trade barriers, and to increase prospects for American trade and investment in emerging markets.