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As Exports to China Boom, U.S. Companies Showcase Their Wares at China Trade Show

SIAL China 2011 had a strong showing of U.S. exhibitors eager to tap in to China’s growing market for U.S. agricultural products.

SIAL China 2011 had a strong showing of U.S. exhibitors eager to tap in to China’s growing market for U.S. agricultural products.

In May, 67 U.S. companies descended on Shanghai for the largest food and beverage show in China—SIAL China.  U.S. exports are expanding all over the world, and China recently emerged as the United States’ top export market in 2010, and accounted for 20 percent of U.S. agricultural exports, valued at $15.1 billion in the first half of Fiscal Year 2011.

The potential of the Chinese market was evident by the strong presence at SIAL China. The U.S.A. Pavilion was not only the largest pavilion at the show, but it was the largest U.S.A. Pavilion ever at SIAL China. The SIAL China trade show generated at least $1.43 million in on-site sales, and of the exhibitors surveyed, a projected additional $26.6 million in sales as a result of their participation in the show. For many of these exhibitors, this wasn’t the first time they have participated in a USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)-endorsed trade show as they have experienced repeated success through their participation.

AMES International Inc., a small, minority-owned business based just outside of Seattle, specializes in high-end chocolate-covered dried fruits and nuts, chocolate-covered cookies, premium roasted and salted nuts, and gourmet teas. The company exports 20 percent of their product and their largest export markets are Korea, Hong Kong, China, Switzerland and France. The company is currently enrolled in USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP), which allows for discounted booth prices via the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA) to participate in events such as SIAL China. WUSATA is one of four State Regional Trade Groups and includes 13 member states from the West Coast. In conjunction with its member organizations, it administers programs funded through MAP.

Emily Paulose, global business coordinator for AMES International, praised the staff of the FAS Shanghai office for arranging a pre-show briefing, a comprehensive trade reception, on-the-spot meetings and for bringing potential buyers to their booth. All of these services were designed to assist U.S.A. pavilion members to learn more about the market and to find the best buyers for their products. The FAS office also organized promotional events during these companies’ stays in China.

“We’ve participated in FAS-sponsored events in Shanghai and Hong Kong markets, which have really kick started our progress in the Chinese market,” said Ms. Paulose. “FAS is always very helpful and the staff encourage you to use their services to the fullest. SIAL China has really helped us get our name into the Chinese market, helped us gauge how our products are received in the market, and has allowed for us to meet a lot of the right types of clients.”

Strong U.S. farm exports will be a key contributor to building an economy that continues to grow, innovate and out-compete the rest of the world. U.S. agricultural exports this year are projected to be at a record $137 billion and support more than 1.1 million jobs in the United States, with China expected to maintain its top position as buyer. Every billion dollars in agricultural exports supports over 8,400 jobs in the United States, while every dollar of exports creates another $1.31 in supporting activities.

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