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NDTO News Article

Trade delegation finds success in Taiwan

BISMARCK, N.D. – Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple led a 29-member delegation on an eight-day trade mission to Taiwan on June 17. The delegation, largely represented by 14 North Dakota businesses and higher education officials, worked to expand global sales and promote the state’s universities.

“The North Dakota Trade Office and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office have identified significant opportunities for us in Taiwan,” Gov. John Hoeven said. “This trade mission is part of an on-going effort to expand North Dakota’s export sales and grow the state’s economy.”

Dalrymple and Department of Transportation Director David Sprynczynatyk met with officials from international steamship lines in Shanghai, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in an effort to increase the pool of intermodal shipping containers that are available for North Dakota businesses. Dalrymple also will lead the delegation in a meeting with high-level Taiwan government officials to promote expanded trade and economic development.

Taiwan is the United States’ eighth largest trading partner and a major buyer of North Dakota goods. Taiwan has pledged to buy $372 million worth of U.S. wheat this year and in 2007. About half the wheat, approximately 31 million bushels, will come from North Dakota and Montana.

The United States exported more than $22 billion in goods to Taiwan last year. The top three exports from North Dakota to Taiwan were machinery, processed foods and crops. Taiwan is the fourth largest export market for North Dakota’s food processors. Exports of processed foods increased nearly 39 percent from 2004 to 2005. Overall, exports from North Dakota to Taiwan have increased 38 percent during the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period last year.

The trade delegation includes leaders from the state’s aerospace industry, agribusiness and officials from the University of North Dakota (UND) and North Dakota State University (NDSU).

“Our goal is to capture greater market share in all of these areas,” Dalrymple said. “Taiwan is an important market for North Dakota exporters given that they import vast amounts of their food, buy more than $2 billion in U.S. aircraft, aircraft parts and services annually and are one of the largest providers of higher-ed scholarships.”

NDSU officials kept busy schedules, meeting with high-ranking Ministry of Education officials and Taiwan university representatives to promote foreign student programs. Last year, 32,671 Taiwanese students studied abroad, a 10-year high. Of those foreign students, 48 percent chose to study in the United States, according to the U.S. Commercial Service.

“These students not only increase our enrollment, but provide the international expertise that our exporters need,” said North Dakota Trade Office Executive Director Susan Geib.

Eleven North Dakota businesses that market value-added foods held meetings with some of the largest food buyers and processors in Taiwan. U.S. agricultural and processed foods account for more than 30 percent of Taiwan’s import demand and amount to more than $2 billion in annual exports. Many of the agribusinesses traveling to Taiwan produce and market food-grade soybeans. Per capita, Taiwan is the largest consumer in the world of soy-based foods. The Taiwan market for food-grade soybeans increased 60 percent during 2003-2004, and another 40 percent in 2004-2005.

Jamestown-based Goodrich Corporation, West Fargo’s Mid-America Aviation and UND Aerospace expanded their services in Taiwan’s growing commercial and military aviation markets. They will meet with military officials and executives from China Airlines, Eva Airlines, Air Asia and other commercial airlines. Last year, the United States exported more than $2.3 billion in military and commercial aircraft and equipment to Taiwan. The Taiwanese government cut its defense budget by 20 percent last year, and analysts believe the military will outsource much of its repair and maintenance work to cut costs. Taiwan’s aviation industry also offers excellent prospects for U.S. products and services because its military and commercial fleets consist largely of American aircraft, the U.S. Commercial Service reports.

The trade mission was sponsored by the Governor’s Office, North Dakota Trade Office, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, North Dakota Agricultural Products and Utilization Commission and the U.S. Commercial Service.

Members of the Taiwanese trade mission were:

·       UND Aerospace Foundation, Grand Forks
·       Unity Seed Company, Casselton
·       Dakota Pride Cooperative, Jamestown
·       RDO Foods Inc., Grand Forks
·       Goodrich Corporation, Jamestown
·       Northern Crops Institute, Fargo
·       Mid-America Aviation, West Fargo
·       Premiere Pulses International Inc., Minot
·       Brushvale Seed Inc., Breckenridge- Wahpeton
·       North Dakota Mill and Elevator, Grand Forks
·       North Dakota State University, Fargo
·       Peterson Farms Seed, Harwood
·       Richland Organics Inc., Breckenridge-Wahpeton
·       University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
·       Dakota Prairie-Earth Harvest Foods, Harvey
·       SB&B Foods, Casselton
·       West Dakota Feed & Seed, Ross
·       Paulson Premium Seed, Bowman
·       CH Trade, Fargo