Agricultural Affairs Office (AAO)
Mark Dries/Agricultural Minister-Counselor
The Agricultural Affairs Office (AAO) of the American Embassy in Seoul represents the interests of American agriculture and agribusiness in the Republic of Korea. Activities of the office include market research and analysis, market development, and market access. AAO helps identify—and works to reduce—foreign trade barriers and other practices and policies that hinder U.S. agricultural exports.
2021 DPRK Roundtable
September 10, 2021
On September 10, U.S. Embassy Seoul’s Office of Agricultural Affairs hosted the 10th Roundtable Discussion on Agriculture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Held virtually for the second time in the past two years, roundtable presenters included: Dr. Choi Ji-young, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU); Dr. Hong Min, a research fellow at KINU’s North Korea Research Division; John Aylieff, the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific; and Dr. Kwon Tae-jin, Director of the Center for North Korea & Northeast Asian Studies at the Globalization Strategy Networking Journal Institute. Panelists were supported by Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs Mark Dries and Foreign Agricultural Service Senior Global Agricultural Analyst Dr. Dath Mita.
2021 Climate Crisis and Biofuels Symposium
September 8, 2021
The USDA Office of Agricultural Affairs in Korea was delighted to co-sponsor the 2021 “Climate Crisis and Biofuels” symposium, working closely with the U.S. Grains Council. Assembling experts from across the public and private sector, this informative session focused on the environmental advantages of biofuel energy and broadening the utilization of this effective resource in Korea to mitigate climate change. Full coverage of the program can be found on the following links. https://youtu.be/FmWtrGHl9Io (Korean) https://youtu.be/4HFpRCG6b0M (English)
New AIM for Climate Website
August 28, 2021
The United States and the and the United Arab Emirates plan to launch a new climate change initiative, the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate / AIM4C), at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021. AIM for Climate seeks to address the climate crisis by uniting participants to significantly increase and accelerate investment in, and/or other support for, climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over the next five years (2021 – 2025). The Republic of Korea signaled intent to join AIM4C in advance of the UN Food Systems Summit pre-meeting held in Rome in July 2021. For more information on Aim for Climate, visit the AIM4C website.
Chodang Soybean Curd Factory Visit
June 10, 2021
On June 10, 2021, Chargé d’Affaires Rob Rapson toured the Chodang Speciality Tofu (soybean curd) Factory. This establishment is renowned for producing high quality soybean curd through a traditional processing method derived from the Chosun Dynasty. Mr. Rapson expressed appreciation for the company’s selection of U.S. soybeans as a major raw ingredient in their tofu products.
USDA and MAFRA Discuss Trade and Cooperation
June 7, 2021
Reconnecting in-person after nearly 15 months of social distancing, OAA Seoul was delighted to gather with MAFRA officials on June 7, 2021 in Sejong City. This productive meeting covered trade opportunities and challenges between the two countries and explored common goals related to climate change, food security, and agricultural innovation.
Great American Craft Beer Showcase
May 17-19, 2021
From May 17-19, 2021, FAS Seoul helped to usher in a another successful KIBEX for 33 U.S. craft breweries. U.S. craft beer continues to grow in popularity in South Korea with exports increasing 15 percent in 2020 to $60.5 million. Korea now stands as the United States third largest beer export market and the largest in Asia.
FAS Seoul Staff Consult with KRA
April 30, 2021
On April 30, 2021, FAS Seoul met with officials from the Korean Racing Authority (KRA) to discuss Korea’s horse racing and breeding industries’ progress through the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting provided an opportunity for both parties to discuss some of the general economic challenges that have emerged over the last year and prospects for continued collaboration as market conditions improve. Following the meeting, the FAS visitors also briefly toured KRA’s Seoul racetrack facility.
Introduction to OORI EARTH
April 29, 2021
From the first day of his inauguration, U.S. President Biden has expressed his strong commitment to responding to climate change by signing Executive Order to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. President Biden has also announced that he will set an example for the world by integrating climate change targets across all of our diplomacy.
FAS Seoul Staff Survey Citrus Production
November 3-5, 2020
In preparation for the annual citrus GAIN report (due December 15) we visited Jeju Island from November 3-5 to discuss the citrus outlook with government officials and producers. Jeju is home to the majority of Korea’s citrus production, including tangerines and mandarins, and FAS/Seoul is projecting strong production this year.
FAS/Seoul Hosts Event on North Korea (DPRK) Agriculture
September 11, 2020
On Friday September 11, FAS/Seoul held the 9th annual (and first virtual) Roundtable on DPRK Agriculture using the online Zoom platform. The event was moderated by Dr. Tae Jin Kwon, Director of the Center for North Korea & Northeast Asian Studies at GS&J, and featured speakers from the World Food Program, Korean Development Bank, and Korean Institute for International Economic Policy. Dr. Dath Mita from the FAS Global Market Analysis office in Washington D.C. joined the panel discussion remotely. Featured topics included the DRPK food security situation, changes in the DPRK financial system, and an update on DPRK trade with China. There were 136 registered participants with a peak viewership of 94.
KimJang Event at the Habib House Garden
November 7, 2019
On Thursday, November 7, Ms. Bruni Bradley and U.S. Embassy Office of Agricultural Affairs hosted an educational event at the Habib House garden in collaboration with the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Urban Agriculture Division. The event featured elementary school students from Deoksoo and Dwight Seoul preparing traditional kimchi using ingredients picked fresh from the Habib House garden.
2019 DPRK Roundtable
September 6, 2019
On September 6, our Agricultural Affairs Office hosted the 8th annual roundtable on agriculture in the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK). Speakers from Korean universities, research institutions, USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service Office of Global Analysis, and the World Food Programme (WFP) gave their insights into the current agricultural, livestock, and fishery situation in the DPRK. Attendees expressed appreciation for the in depth discussion and the opportunity to exchange important research ideas on a country that largely depends on agriculture but shares little information with the outside world.
Minister-Counselor Verdonk speaks at 2019 Korea Intl. Culinary Competition
May 17, 2019
Ron Verdonk provided congratulatory remarks at the “2019 Korea International Culinary Competition” held at the aT Center in Seoul on May 17, 2019. Among groups of participants, the competition involved hundreds of up-and-coming chefs. In his remarks, he emphasized the fact that the U.S. Agriculture provides inputs that Korean cooks need, from food grade soybeans that make their way to the Korean dinner table whether in bean paste soup with tofu, to a range of other ingredients including dairy products like whey.