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Ag secretary promotes California products at Asia trade delegation

POSTED April 19, 2012 1:36 p.m.

California Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross is part of a U.S. trade delegation to Singapore and South Korea that is focusing on trade, market access and promotions.

During her time in Singapore, Ross met with foreign trade associations, companies and media promoting California as a supplier of high value and quality food products and as a spectacular tourism destination with a diversity of food and wine experiences. As a nation with little domestic food production, Singapore relies on foreign imports and is an important hub for all of Southeast Asia.

More than 10 California companies participated in the Food and Hotel Asia trade show this week which drew more than 50,000 attendees from Southeast Asia. A wide range of California products including lamb, olives, and dried plums were represented. The California Milk Advisory Board was also on hand to develop export sales within the food service sector through sampling, demonstrations and by connecting dairy farmers with interested foreign buyers.

At the opening day of the show Ross met with a new importing company from Thailand that has, within four short years, increased shipments of California table grapes from 15 to more than 200 containers per year. On a tour of food retailers, Ross learned about the good reputation California products enjoy, consumer awareness in Asia of food safety practices, and growing demand for organic produce and baby food. The delegation also had a meeting with a fresh fruit and vegetable association whose members want more California products for the Singapore and Southeast Asia markets.

With California’s agricultural diversity, quality and willingness to do business – Singapore and Southeast Asia represent great opportunities for California’s farmers, ranchers and food processors, said Ross.

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