In returning to California after three days in Vietnam, I’m greatly impressed by the potential the market has for California as well as the commitment of the Vietnamese government to farmers; trade; and climate change, mitigation and adaptation.
During my short visit, I had the opportunity to visit the nation’s largest dairy processor – Vinamilk – whose state-of-the-art facility in Binh Duong Province underscores the market potential that Vietnam holds. Not only is Vinamilk committed to product innovation and environmental sustainability, the new facility is a world-class operation dedicated to meeting the future growth of the country. In addition, Vinamilk’s management is very eager to learn and partner with California to improve the prospects and potential for the dairy industry in both countries.
The eagerness for cooperation was consistent in all my interactions with the Vietnamese people – business and government alike. In my governmental meetings with the ministries of agriculture and trade, I underscored our commitment to trade and our appreciation for the continued progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. California and the United States can benefit significantly from increased market access and a reduction in tariff barriers to region. Vietnam is a $200 million market for California agricultural products – our 12th largest export destination – and it increased 43 percent from the previous year.
I was very thankful to be joined on this trip by a great group of small businesses who are eager to expand their business and California exports. Of the 11 companies that participated, we had trading companies, winery exporters, growers and a even a small seasoning company from Calaveras County. I was pleased to have Richard Matoian of American Pistachio Growers join me on my governmental meetings and visits. Trade missions like this are an excellent opportunity for companies to expand business relationships and the Fresno Center for International Trade Development is a great partner in making activities like this possible.
I look forward to visiting more markets in the future to promote the California brand and support our farmers and ranchers.
Secretary Ross was in Asia as part of a trade mission facilitated by the Fresno Center for International Trade Development and funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Other attendees were:
1.) Allison Cecchini, Cecchini & Cecchini
2.) Joel Weinstein, Foodlinx
3.) Tie Zhang, Gold Coast Wine Group
4.) Tina Soong, International Merchants Group
5.) Jag Kalkat & Ravie Aujla, Kalkat Fruit & Nut
6.) Richard Kindle, Kindle and Associates
7.) Leo Wang, Kings River, Inc.
8.) Vladimir Algin, Manzana Products
9.) Greg Martellotto, One Vine Wines
10.) Roy Campbell, Roy’s Seasoning
11.) Jason Lee, Cal Ranch, Inc.