GLICKMAN TO DRUM UP NEW MARKETS FOR FARM EXPORTS ON ASIAN TRIP

GLICKMAN TO DRUM UP NEW MARKETS FOR FARM EXPORTS ON ASIAN TRIP

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman will concentrate on stimulating growth in U.S. farm export markets in Asia during his 12-day trip through the region.

"Generally, we have fewer problems in agriculture than we used to have," said Paul Drazek, who counsels Mr. Glickman on international affairs."But wherever there is a problem, the secretary will address that." Through Aug. 18, Mr. Glickman will meet with government officials in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Asia is the largest U.S. export market, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture projecting U.S. agricultural exports to the region at $22.6 billion in fiscal year 1995.

Japan, the recipient of 25 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, will be Mr. Glickman's first stop. Mr. Drazek said the United States and Japan have had a relatively smooth relationship regarding farm exports.

''One principal reason Mr. Glickman is going to Japan is to demonstrate how important they are to us as an agricultural market.

"They're our largest by far," he said.

The United States is expected to export $9.7 billion in agricultural products to Japan in fiscal year 1995, the USDA said.

''I think the secretary wants to assure them we will continue to be a reliable supplier of quality food products," Mr. Drazek said.

However, Mr. Glickman said he intends to discuss with the Japanese government ''certain import regulations" on plywood and other wood products. The United States would like Japan to open its market to higher-value wood products.

He will then travel to Indonesia, an export market that has "big potential" for the United States, Mr. Drazek said. "Indonesia has the potential to become another Korea, although not quite another Japan." Indonesia is a fast-growing market for U.S. exports of value-added products. The country is building several new major shipping ports, which have enhanced Indonesia's potential to become a net importer of feed grains, said a USDA source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. cotton and Washington state apples also have strong holds in the Indonesian market.

While the country has many trade barriers, Mr. Glickman will take a general approach by making sure Indonesia is "on track" with the implementation of the World Trade Organization, the source said. The WTO is the international body that governs trade throughout much of the world.

Mr. Glickman will then travel to Singapore, which is an "entry point" into Asia. Many U.S. exports to Indonesia and Malaysia are shipped through Singapore, the source said.

Mr. Glickman will meet briefly with Singaporean government officials and importers, and then will head to Malaysia.

''Malaysia is one of the fastest-growing markets percentage-wise in terms of feed grains," the source said.

Mr. Glickman won't necessarily address any trade barriers there, but will seek to make sure that overall trade progress continues.

The USDA chief then will head to Hong Kong, another transshipment port. From this port, U.S. goods are shipped to China and the Philippines.

Mr. Glickman's last stop will be South Korea, a very strong U.S. export market for numerous commodities. The South Korean visit will be the first by a U.S. agriculture secretary in 15 years.

The major agricultural trade tension between the United States and South Korea was defused last month when Seoul extended the shelf life of imported frozen and chilled meats.

Mr. Glickman more than likely will emphasize to South Korean government officials the importance of abiding by trade pacts and will "thank them" for settling the shelf-life issue, the source said.