Mar 23, 2012
USDA Agriculture Trade Mission to China under way

Valley Pride Sales Inc. in Mount Vernon, Wash. is among approximately 40 American businesses participating in a U.S. Department of Agriculture Trade Mission to China that kicked off today and runs through March 28.

Acting Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse, who is leading the group, said it’s “the largest USDA trade mission to date.”

U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown more than 80 percent in the last three years, according to USDA. The mission’s intent is to help American businesses strike new deals, strengthen business ties, expand their markets and support jobs for Americans, USDA says.

Matt Yeoman at Valley Pride Sales said owner Larry Jensen is participating in the mission to learn more about what’s happening in China and investigate possibilities for future business. Valley Pride is a sales agent for a potato grower, also handling broccoli, cucumbers and cauliflower and brokering berries.

“We don’t know if there’s anything that can be done right away, but it’s planting a seed and looking to expand our export markets,” Yeoman said. “It’s trying to cultivate seeing what opportunities are over there.”

During stops in Chengdu and Shanghai, participants will meet with dozens of Chinese producers, importers, buyers, distributors and investors. The mission also coincides with the Food Ingredients China trade show, where Scuse will cut the ribbon to open the show’s USA Pavilion.

Also participating in the mission are leaders from six state departments of agriculture, including Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Jim Reese and representatives from North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas and South Dakota. In Shanghai, the delegation is being joined by Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Darci Vetter and Ambassador Islam Siddiqui, chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

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