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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. Read more »

No Bones about It – Barbecue Sauce a Hit Overseas

Pat Ford of Ford’s Gourmet Foods shares the company’s signature Bone Suckin’ Barbeque Sauce with visitors to a food show in Australia. Thanks in part to support from FAS market development programs, Ford’s now exports to more than 50 countries and 35 percent of their sales come from international markets.  (Photo courtesy of FAS)

Pat Ford of Ford’s Gourmet Foods shares the company’s signature Bone Suckin’ Barbeque Sauce with visitors to a food show in Australia. Thanks in part to support from FAS market development programs, Ford’s now exports to more than 50 countries and 35 percent of their sales come from international markets. (Photo courtesy of FAS)

This holiday weekend, grills across the country will be fired up, bringing family and friends together to enjoy traditional, finger-licking American barbeque and celebrate the unofficial start of summer. Read more »

U.S. Agribusinesses Shine at SIAL Canada Trade Show

Last week, I traveled to Canada – the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural products.  Wanting to see our companies promoting U.S. export sales, I attended SIAL Canada, an international trade show in Toronto, which welcomed more than 530 exhibitors and 12,000 food and agricultural business professionals from around the world.

While there, I met with the 28 American companies exhibiting in the USA pavilion, which was endorsed by USDA. Many of the companies were only able to attend the show because of support from the State Trade Regional Groups (STRGs) and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) market development programs. Read more »

More than 140 U.S. Exhibitors Participate in SIAL Paris to Showcase U.S. Agricultural Products

Trade visitors sample a variety of cheeses at the Rogue Creamery stand in the USA Pavilion. Rogue Creamery, an artisan cheese company, is dedicated to sustainability and the art and tradition of making the world's finest handmade cheese.

Trade visitors sample a variety of cheeses at the Rogue Creamery stand in the USA Pavilion. Rogue Creamery, an artisan cheese company, is dedicated to sustainability and the art and tradition of making the world's finest handmade cheese.

Earlier this week I traveled to Paris to attend the 24th edition of the Salon International d’Alimentation (SIAL). This 5-day event is one of the largest international food and beverage trade exhibitions in the world, attracting 5,500 exhibitors and over 147,000 trade-only visitors representing 188 countries. I was very impressed by the wide variety of U.S. products on display and by the number of participating countries. Read more »

SIAL China 2010 Trade Show Opens in Shanghai to Throngs of Visitors, Demonstrating to the World how Trade Works

By Janet Nuzum, Associate Administrator for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service

Today I am in bustling and busy Shanghai representing USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service at the SIAL China 2010 trade show.  SIAL China is celebrating its 11th year as one of the largest, most comprehensive trade shows for the food, beverage, and hospitality industry in China. Last year, SIAL China had more than 1,000 exhibitors and over 28,000 visitors. As China’s trade and commercial center, this city is an appropriate place to hold a trade show of this magnitude, especially during World Trade Week.

In addition to the opening of SIAL China today, Shanghai is hosting the World Expo 2010 from May 1 through October 31. This Expo may be the largest World’s Fair ever, with 70 million visitors from all over the world expected to attend. With that many people anticipated in this city of 20 million over the next six months, you can only imagine how crowded the streets already are and will be. 

I had the opportunity to visit the World Expo yesterday, along with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, who is leading a clean energy business development and trade mission to China and Indonesia. I was truly amazed by the size and scope of this unforgettable Expo that is spread over two square miles along both sides of the Huangpu River that divides Shanghai.

In preparation for the World Expo, Shanghai has transformed itself in less than a decade from an industrial town to a cosmopolitan metropolis. Its growth is indicative of the rapid changes happening in this country of 1.3 billion people. Since China joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001, it has lowered tariffs and liberalized its economy, resulting in rapid growth in gross domestic product, direct foreign investment, imports and exports. 

This growth means Chinese consumers have more disposable income to spend on food and clothing, which creates real opportunities for U.S. exporters of food and fiber. That is why I am here at the SIAL China 2010 Trade Show to see and learn about the changes happening in this dynamic market and what it means for U.S. agricultural exporters. As I walked through the U.S. Pavilion, I saw Chinese buyers from both the retail and food service sectors looking eagerly at the vast range of U.S. food and beverage products on display. U.S. exporters are here from all over the United States from Alaska to Alabama.  Their products include everything from seafood to pork and wild blueberries to walnuts.  What an exciting array of sights, smells, and tastes!

Last year, 42 U.S. Pavilion exhibitors made $2.5 million in on-site sales with another $17 million expected over the ensuing 12 months.  With 58 U.S. exhibitors this year—the largest we have ever had at this show—sales will undoubtedly be even higher.  The growing number of U.S. exhibitors is a testament to the broader awareness in the United States of the tremendous market potential here in China.

Earlier today, I participated in a press conference with Chinese and foreign dignitaries to open the show, which runs from May 19-21. At the press conference, I emphasized how much we value our trade and economic relationship with China. Currently, China is the United States’ second largest market for U.S. agricultural exports. Last year, two-way trade in agricultural, fish, and forest products exceeded $21 billion, more than quadrupling in value since 2001. Clearly, both of our countries benefit immensely from our vibrant bilateral relationship and exchange of goods and services. And the U.S. exhibitors here at SIAL China 2010 assured me that the prospects for increased U.S. exports look even brighter!

FAS Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum speaks with U.S. exporters at the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association booth in the USA Pavilion at the SIAL China 2010 Trade Show in Shanghai, China. Photo Credit: Bill Shen, U.S. Agricultural Trade Office, Shanghai, China

FAS Associate Administrator Janet Nuzum speaks with U.S. exporters at the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association booth in the USA Pavilion at the SIAL China 2010 Trade Show in Shanghai, China. Photo Credit: Bill Shen, U.S. Agricultural Trade Office, Shanghai, China 

Diversity Program Students Share Their Views From the USDA Outlook Forum

Last week, 22 college students were given the opportunity to attend the USDA Outlook Forum to learn about agribusiness, the latest research, future trends, and policy in contemporary agriculture. The students were part of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Diversity Program, which was launched by the Office of the Chief Economist and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2007 to help provide students with a unique insight into their agricultural studies. These students represent the diversity of American agriculture.

While at the forum, the students had the opportunity to hear from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and other leaders in the agricultural industry who were able to give them a unique opportunity to interact with industry professionals – something that can’t always be gained in the classroom.

Comments from the students about their experience proved just how useful this program is to their college experience and career development:

“The USDA Outlook Forum Diversity Program presents a great opportunity for students to meet important people in the industry of agriculture.  The speakers presented great points of where agriculture is headed in this country from the points of view from professionals in the agriculture industry which is valuable advice for students.  I enjoyed listening to Ambassador [Ronald] Kirk and Secretary Vilsack’s presentations and all of the opportunities presented to us.  It was also great to meet other agriculture students from across the country.”

“[I liked the] fact that there were speakers who challenged the USDA or brought up controversial issues, and that this wasn’t a means to stir tensions but rather to engage open discussions.  I liked that I could intelligently speak about these topics with my peers who share similar interests.”

“I’ve gained knowledge of a lot of things that I’ve overlooked in the past.  I see now how everything is linked and how important it is to preserve our agriculture, so from a 1 to 10, I would have to give this experience a 100.”

Additionally, the students’ time at the Forum gave them a look at what a future career in agriculture might look like and what road they need to take to work toward their career aspirations.

“I was surprised at how much I took from it, particularly outside of the information I got from the sessions.  I was able to talk to representatives of the various agencies at USDA and really get a better feel for what they did and the qualifications needed to get where I want to go.”.

The students are from land-grant universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and American Association of State Colleges of Agriculture and Renewable Resources institutions. This year, sponsoring corporations and USDA agencies include: CHS, Inc.; the Farm Credit System; and USDA’s Economic Research Service. This year’s sponsorship of 22 students is the highest level of participation since the program’s inception.

Student participants of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Diversity Program meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the 2010 USDA Outlook Forum.

Student participants of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Diversity Program meet with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the 2010 USDA Outlook Forum.