Our trade mission through China with Governor Brown continues with a stop in the exciting city of Shanghai – home of more than 23 million people and one of the largest cities in the world. It is the commercial and financial center of mainland China. In short, it is an excellent market for California exports, including, of course, agriculture.
Governor Brown has opened the California-China Office of Trade and Investment – a resource for California and Chinese companies to expand cooperation and business ties. As the first official presence for California in China for several years, this office demonstrates the long-term commitment California has to this growing market.
For the agricultural sector in particular, we have seen dramatic growth and continuing success. Ag exports to China are increasing impressively – up 25 percent last year in reaching a value of more than $1.7 billion. Almonds increased 41 percent; pistachios were up 27 percent; wine was up 52 percent; walnuts were up 10 percent; citrus increased 17 percent; table grapes were up 20 percent; dairy products were up 54 percent; and raisins were up 65 percent. These are very encouraging gains and an indicator of the importance of working closely with our Chinese partners to understand what consumers are looking for, and to ensure market access.
During our time in Shanghai, we had the opportunity to meet with some of the top agricultural importers in the area to discuss opportunities for greater collaboration and trade growth. E-commerce was a key topic in the meeting and we were very pleased to have Governor Brown join us for a part of our discussion.
Traveling with representatives from the almond, beef, citrus, dairy, raisin, rice, organic products, pistachio, and wine sectors only reinforces California’s commitment to China. I look forward to working throughout this trip and beyond to leverage our agricultural trade opportunities here in Shanghai and throughout China.