Food Safety Modernization Act Workshop

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua, Laura F. Dogu
Managua, October 24, 2017

Good morning.

The Nicaraguan and Central American producers and business owners can compete in the world market with quality products and fulfill all of the requirements required by the United States and other markets. From 2012 to 2016, Nicaraguan exports of agricultural products to the United States only increased by 9%. But in the period of January to July 2017, Nicaraguan exports of agricultural products have increased 19% when compared to the same period the year before.

Nicaraguan business owners are more dynamic and competitive each day.

As you all know, in 2011 the United States launched the Food Safety Modernization Act, administered by the FDA. U.S. consumers demanded more secure food products after several incidents of diseases because of contaminated imported food. Now, to export food products to the United States there are many new requirements.

The United States wants a prosperous Nicaragua, and we understand that these new regulations can have an impact in sending your products to the U.S. market. This workshop is the result. The Nicaraguan regulators and producers need to have a complete understanding of the law and its regulations in order to minimize consumer risk and facilitate exports of Nicaraguan products to the United States.

For that reason, USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are working with the governments in the region and the producers and exporters preparing them to comply with the law. With that, they seek to increase trade opportunities between the region and the United States, in addition to promoting regional economic integration that will bring more income and more jobs for Nicaraguans.

It pleases me to know that gathered here are representatives of the Nicaraguan government and the private sector, those who should work in a coordinated way to be able to accomplish what this law entails. We know that it will not be a simple task and it means a lot of work on your part. But all of this is worth it.

In addition to generating and preserving jobs in the country through exports, the adoption of good practices has an additional benefit in that Nicaraguan consumers also have the certainty that their food is safe. There are many Nicaraguans in the United States and they want to continue buying products from their country. And, I have one more year in the country and I want to be sure that I can buy my favorite foods from Nicaragua upon my return to the United States. For that reason, please, pay a lot of attention in this workshop.

Thank you!

# # #