California Mission To Establish Stronger
Market In China
By Laurie Greene, Associate Editor
Secretary Karen Ross (third from left, at table, facing camera) at a
briefing at the California-China Office of Trade in Shanghai.To her right
Schneller, director of the US Agricultural Trade Office there.
CDFA Secretary Karen Ross released an update today on the
California Trade Delegation’s meetings in China this week. Here are her
I am pleased to have the opportunity to return to Asia this
week on a trade mission along with ten California companies looking to
establish stronger relationships in the region.
One of our first stops was the
California-China Office of Trade and Investment in Shanghai, which was opened
in April of this year by Governor Brown. It is a valuable resource for
California businesses as a venue for meetings, temporary office space, and an
opportunity to connect with staff members who are eager to assist California
companies interested in doing business in China, which is California’s third
largest export market for agricultural products, with over $1.7 billion in
shipments in 2012.
During our briefing this week with the Foreign Agricultural
Service Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) of the United States Department of
Agriculture, we learned that China is still a fast-growing market for food,
beverage and agricultural commodities. We heard from two importer/distribution
companies with over twenty years of experience importing products to China.
Both firms, Goodwell China and the Nanpu Group, have
impressive infrastructures to reach beyond first-tier cities in China’s coastal
areas (Hong Kong, Shanghai) to service second-tier cities throughout the
country’s vast interior.
When I last visited China in the spring, our delegation
learned how significant on-line shopping has become for the food and beverage
industry, and that was underscored during our briefing with the ATO. A major
company in this realm is Yihaodian, the number one on-line provider in the
food and beverage category. The company started in 2008 and has seen remarkable
growth fueled by its creativity and the demographics of its middle-income
users. As the ATO staff briefing us explained, the company’s users
represent “bigger buying power looking for better life.” The company is
focused on apps for mobile users, which is important for connecting with
hundreds of millions of consumers throughout China.
On this visit I also had the opportunity to meet with
Director Sun Lei with the Shanghai Municipal Agriculture Commission. The
region has 1.5 million farmers with an average farm size of about one hectare.
Mr. Sun expressed concern about the pressure on farmland to be more productive,
to minimize the environmental footprint of farming, and to improve food safety
practices. The commission is also focused on the challenge of attracting new
and younger people to farming. We enjoyed a lively discussion about the
importance of cooperation and collaboration on these kinds of issues, which are
key to the future of all people, regardless of where they reside on our planet.
Economics – the search for new markets – is the primary
objective of this and all agricultural trade missions that CDFA sponsors with
our partner, the California Center for International Trade Development in
Fresno. However, the connections we make with the Chinese people and the
government leaders remind me of our shared aspirations for a better world and
the vital role agriculture plays to improve the quality of life of our citizens.
Labels: California Ag Trade Delegation in Asia, California Mission to Establish Stronger Market in China, California-China Office of Trade, CDFA, Director Sun Lei, Karen Ross, USDA