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Ag Exports to China Continue to Grow

Ag Exports to China Continue to Grow

The Chinese are an important part of the North Carolina Ag Economy, and that importance continues to grow.  Peter Thornton, Assistant Director of International Marketing with North Carolina Department of Agriculture explains that the focus of agricultural marketing in China has broadened:

“It’s a tremendous potential market for us. We are finding out that the big cities are very developed and very competitive markets. We are encouraging people to look at the smaller, less significant cities of between 8-10 million people.”

Thornton has hosted various groups from China looking at various aspects of North Carolina Agriculture:

“The most important is that China Tobacco set up an office here and that is what we are most proud of. It’s a tremendous asset to the state that they have chosen NC over all other states. Next week we have a Chinese buyer coming to the Flavors of NC show and we just did the distillery tour with three Chinese buyers. We continue to use our office in China to target potential buyers and bring them here to NC to see us first hand.”

The export of pork products to china from North is expected to increase as well with the sale of Smithfield Foods:

“Pork traditionally has been politically sensitive, but now that Shuanghu has an stake in NC, their influence will certainly help facilitate trade with China.”

The Chinese have had their concerns with American and North Carolina products, and Thornton says the work is ongoing to resolve those concerns:

“That is a constant issue. Agriculture is always going to be politically sensitive. Just as we are sensitive to products coming in from China that aren’t safe coming into the US, china is similarly worried. There will always be issues that hinder trade and its our job to make sure both sides are educated on what the other side does and expect. The more we can do that, the better off we are and the better people will be able to navigate the industry.”

Assistant Director of international Marketing with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Peter Thornton.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.