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Overall, Chinese Trade Mission a Success

Just yesterday, a large trade mission to china wrapped up, headed by USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse. North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Peter Thornton, Assistant Director, International marketing was in this group representing North Carolina agriculture and assisting with specific companies also on the trip:

“We brought along three North Carolina companies: Biltmore Wine, World Wide Lumber, a new lumber exporting company from Charlotte and PS International, a commodity trading firm in Chapel Hill. The first place we went was Chengdu, a second tier city, where there is more opportunity because not as many people have been there. However, I think the companies found more use out of Shanghai, the second stop on the trip. They found quite a few very good contacts that were very interested in their product. We are very excited to see some follow up on all of those products.” 

Thornton says it was an extremely beneficial trip:

“It would be nice to say that we have immediate sales right now, and in some cases we may, but what we really developed, and was the objective of the trip, was to open up some communication channels between some potential exporters and some importers. For a lot of these folks they have never been overseas, they have never ventured into the export market and this was the first time. The best of the best of the Chinese buyers industry came and they offered a tremendous set of opportunities to North Carolina companies that never would have seen it otherwise.” 

Thornton also considers his meeting with China Tobacco to be a success, as well:

“They continue to be very optimistic about the North Carolina market, and when you look at what’s happening in Brazil and the price of the Real, and the instability in Africa, North Carolina becomes more and more important. The whole region becomes more important to international buyers because they need that security of diversity of supply. They will get that security with better quality, a better commitment and more integrity that you will find out of tobacco produced out of North Carolina, and they recognize that.” 

Unfortunately, one area that saw no resolution this go-round was the ractapomine issue in pork:

“Ractapomine-free pork will continue to be the standard bearer of any exports going into China. It is not scientifically based, it is politically based and it’s going to continue to be an issue. China is going to continue to need pork and they will turn the spicket on as they want to from what I can tell. If the negotiators do a good job, perhaps we can open up those spickets a little more.” 

NCDA’s Assistant Director of International Marketing, Peter Thornton. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.