China Welcomes California!

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross (center) in Beijing with members of the California agriculture delegation on Governor Brown’s trade mission to China.  From left to right – Michael Gallo, Joseph Gallo Farms and member of California State Board of Food and Agriculture; Cathy Calfo, California Certified Organic Farmers; Sean Martin, Driscoll’s; Michael Rue, California Rice Commission; Chris Rosander, California Raisin Administrative Committee; Don Peracchi, DJ Farms; Melissa Poole, Paramount Farms; Julie Adams, California Almond Board; Jay Behmke, Yao Family Wines.    

Pleasant weather and clear skies welcomed Governor Brown’s delegation to Beijing – the first stop on our three-city tour of this dynamic country.

As part of the trade delegation, I am here to promote California as a place for business and to build trade relationships that expand exports of California’s food and agricultural products.

Several agricultural companies have joined me on this mission – representing the strength of California’s agricultural industry. As such, we have taken the opportunity to develop side meetings for participating delegates with business and government entities.

Our first meeting with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service provided an in-depth perspective on China as a market for California products. U.S. agricultural exports have increased 37 percent over the last year. For the last seven consecutive years, agricultural exports have reached record highs. Currently, Ag exports represent 20 percent of total U.S. exports to China – one in five products exported to this market is agriculturally based. So there is great potential for California on this mission and far into the future.

We also had the opportunity to meet with the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA). This organization represents more than 5,500 businesses in the agricultural sector and is looking for ways to build stronger relationships with California companies. I invited CFNA to visit California to meet with California exporters and to expand trade between our two countries. It is organizations like this that can help California expand its presence in China.

Our day closed with a visit to the State Forestry Administration (SFA) to discuss market access issues related to the nursery sector as well as intellectual property protection for plant products. The SFA was pleased to welcome the California delegation and we had a very positive discussion on the issues.

Again, great trade potential exists here in China, and I look forward to assisting California’s businesses in developing new trade relationships.

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