The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S Trade Representative’s office recently led a marketing mission to China. A broad group of people from various areas of the ag industry made up the largest trade mission ever put together. Wendell Shauman – Chairman of the U.S. Grains Council – was on the trip and says the Consulates of Chendu and Shanghai were heavily involved in the mission:
“We went to a giant food trade show. The US had a large pavilion. There was a lot of business going on. Lots of people huddled up around tables with their order pads out. The aisles were full and it was over all well attended. I was unfamiliar with some of the products being sold, but it added to the overall experience. There were a lot of high value products as well. It was an exciting mission to be involved in and see our government in action. The information and briefings we got from them was very useful and I feel there are a good number of competent people over there.”
The U.S. is always looking for new markets – and Shauman says China is one of the most exciting potential markets in the world:
“They have a rapidly growing middle class and more people with money to spend. They want to live better and eat better. Their status in the world is moving up and they have no desire to go backwards. Its not just a bubble, its an economy that is improving. It may slow down, but likely only to 8-9%, we saw growth rates of upwards of 15%. There are few places in the world where that happens. It’s a market that is growing rapidly and certainly one you want to be involved in.”
Shauman says there’s a tremendous opportunity for market development in China – but there’s also a degree of caution:
“You need to know who you are dealing with. You need to find a partner that you can trust. We learned about people who got into situations that didn’t turn out well. We received some advice to try to avoid any negative situations. There is tremendous opportunity but you must be careful. The markets are wonderful.”
And Shauman says that can be seen everywhere in China. China’s economy is dynamic and growing – which Shauman says makes it an exciting place to conduct business right now.