Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and the North Dakota Trade Office (NDTO) will lead a delegation comprised of 14 North Dakota businesses and organizations on a trade mission to China, March 19-28.
“Exports are a vital part of North Dakota’s economy and there are tremendous opportunities to promote our state’s products in China,” said Governor Jack Dalrymple. “I was proud to lead our state on a mission to China as chairman of the NDTO Board of Directors in 2010, and I’m please that Lt. Gov. Wrigley will lead our delegation this year. We’re dedicated to continuing to strengthen North Dakota’s presence in this growing market and in other growing markets throughout the world.”
The trade mission delegation will include representatives from the pea and lentil, soybean, flax and flour industries, commercial companies, investment groups and business leaders.
“North Dakota exports increased by $900 million last year and it is programs like this trade mission to China that are helping to drive that success,” Lt. Gov. Wrigley said. “We will continue to seek and secure global markets to further grow and diversify our economy.”
Members of the North Dakota trade delegation will disperse to cities across China for meetings and events related to their specific industries. Lt. Gov. Wrigley and Commissioner Goehring will begin the trade mission in Beijing, where they will meet with one of the largest state-owned entities interested in importing food products from North Dakota.
“Chinese consumers have increased their spending on food an average of 17 percent per year for the last four years,” Goehring said. “This spells opportunity for North Dakota agriculture, one of the top suppliers of high quality food ingredients in the U.S.”
North Dakota officials and Northern Food Grade Soybean Association representatives will visit the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the ministerial-level department in charge of national quality, entry-exit commodity inspection, import-export food safety and certification, while in Beijing to discuss customs issues in China and how the process of importing North Dakota goods into the country can be streamlined.
Value-added food producers and marketers including Dakota Specialty Milling, Healthy Oilseeds, North Dakota Mill, Paulson Seed, Pulse International and West Dakota Feed & Seed will visit Shanghai and the neighboring cities of Yantai and Qingdao, touring factories and meeting with potential buyers. After leaving China, value-added food representatives will travel to the Philippine capital of Manila to meet with other potential buyers. Other companies and organizations participating in the China Trade Mission include Fredrikson & Byron P.A. and Phoenix International.
“China is not the easiest market to enter, but the opportunities are plentiful,” said Dean Gorder, executive director of the NDTO. “China has more than 1.3 billion people and the upper middle class is growing at a staggering pace. They are requiring the higher quality products for which North Dakota is known. Our goal is to work diligently to build relationships with key officials and buyers and to increase our market share at a manageable pace.”
North Dakota’s exports to China have increased approximately 443 percent since 2000; the state’s exports to the world have increased over 540 percent during the same period.
In Shanghai, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture will lead a group of value-added agriculture producers to Food Ingredients China 2012, the largest international food additives and ingredients show in Asia. The show is attended annually by over 31,000 food buyers from more than 20 countries around the world. The entire North Dakota trade delegation will meet March 27 in Shanghai for a networking reception.
The North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Commercial Service, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, the North Dakota Soybean Council, and the Food Export Association of the Midwest assisted NDTO in the development of the trade mission.
The North Dakota trade delegation will be holding a news conference following the China Trade Mission to announce details of their business trip. More details regarding the news conference will be provided. For more information or to schedule and interview, contact Brittany Posey with the North NDTO at (701) 866-6122.