WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2007 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today opened a new agricultural trade office in Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's province of Sichuan. Chengdu is China's fifth most populated city in a region of nearly 200 million people.
"China is a vital market for U.S. agricultural products," said A. Ellen Terpstra, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA's Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. "It is one of the world's largest economies and the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports. Rising per capita incomes and steady economic growth are creating new demand for U.S. foods and beverages in this region. This office will help U.S. exporters position themselves to take advantage of these trends."
Along with offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the Chengdu office is the fourth USDA agricultural trade office on mainland China and the 102nd overseas office staffed by USDA in 82 countries around the world.
China imported roughly $8.2 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products in fiscal year 2007, a record figure. Bulk and intermediate products like soybeans, cotton, hides, meat, and poultry accounted for a large portion of that total. While U.S. bulk commodities have traditionally fared well in this market—the market for U.S. soybeans and cotton is the largest for the United States—U.S. consumer-ready foods like nuts, dairy products and wine made the biggest gains in 2007 with a 44 percent increase over fiscal year 2006.
The primary mission of agricultural trade offices is to help market and promote U.S. agricultural, fish, and forestry products, and to assist in trade development. The offices provide a starting point for U.S. companies, cooperatives, farmers and processors interested in exporting.
In addition to inaugurating the new office in Chengdu, Terpstra is in China to attend meetings of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. She will also hold additional bilateral discussions on agricultural trade. Terpstra is part of a U.S. delegation, including officials from the departments of Treasury, Commerce, and Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
USDA's Chengdu Agricultural Trade Office can be reached via e-mail at ATOChengdu@fas.usda.gov, or through the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu by calling (011-86-28) 8558-3992, or 8558-9646. The director of the new office is Kevin Latner of USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.