Our California trade delegation concluded our trip to Asia last week with a visit to Seoul, South Korea – the Land of the Morning Calm. This is an English translation of the meaning of Josean, a long reigning dynasty in Korea.
Korea, like China, is full of potential! Our trade delegation was excited by the number of high quality trade leads, introductions and possibilities for new business relationships that emerged from the variety of meetings and events they attended. As Secretary, it was my pleasure to visit and thank some of the longstanding Korean businesses that continue to have a great relationship with California and our products.
From my meetings with retail chains and importers/distributors, South Korea is looking to conduct business with California companies. One visit, with E-mart’s Global Sourcing Division, emphasized the fact that not enough California businesses were “knocking at their door” to introduce products to Korean consumers – this from one of the largest retail chains in Korea. Our products are popular; they are in demand, renowned for their safety and quality and eager to be purchased by Korean consumers who want to benefit from the tariff reductions made possible by the U.S.- Korea Free Trade Agreement.
I also had the great opportunity to participate in a “Taste of California” event faciliated by the California Tourism Commission that highlighted our agricultural products to Korean lifestyle media. More than 20 journalists from travel, food and social media outlets attended the event which featured dishes and commentary from the Celebrity Chef Edward Kwon former host of the reality cooking competition Yes Chef. The presentation and transformation of California ingredients into uniquely flavorful dishes will help generate media exposure and consumer demand for California and our food products.
I know that the companies that participated in this business delegation were impressed with the number and variety of meetings they conducted in Shanghai and Seoul. They are also impressed with the potential these markets hold for California grown products. I look forward to joining future business delegations and providing resources and services for our companies to help them expand within these and other dynamic markets.
(Secretary Ross was in Asia as part of a trade delegation funded by the California State Trade Export Program and facilitated by the Fresno Center for International Trade Development.)