World wine business starts in Niagara
GASPORT — Spring Lake Winery in Gasport will be visiting a new market this week. And that new market isn’t exactly around the corner.
The winery is one of 39 American businesses traveling to China on a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission trip starting Friday and concluding Wednesday. The only other business traveling from New York state is Glacier Treasures of Webster.
Michael Scuse, the acting undersecretary for the USDA Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services will lead the business trip.
The department said U.S. agricultural exports to China have grown more than 80 percent in the past three years. The USDA trade mission aims to help American businesses strike new deals, strengthen business ties, expand their markets, and support jobs for Americans.
“This is the largest USDA trade mission to date,” Scuse said in a statement. “China and the United States share a special relationship, and we embrace this opportunity to demonstrate that our U.S. farmers, ranchers and producers are reliable suppliers of the highest-quality food and agricultural products. At the same time, USDA and our federal partners will continue to aggressively work to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade.”
Chinese demand for bulk commodities such as soybeans and cotton is high, while demand for high-value U.S. products like meat and processed foods continues to grow, the USDA said. Bilateral trade between the United States and China in fiscal year 2011 reached an all-time high of $32.1 billion. U.S. exports to China were $22.8 billion and exports from China to the United States were $9.3 billion.
Today, USDA’s largest overseas presence is in China. With seven offices in five cities, USDA is well-positioned to support American agriculture and agribusinesses in China, the department said.
Matthew Herrick, a USDA spokesman, said there is extensive Chinese demand for American wine and spirits. In the past, it was mostly West Coast wineries exporting to China, but recently, East Coast wineries have been exploring export opportunities, as well.
Businesses can apply to attend a USDA trade mission or can be recruited. Product demand is a major factor in deciding which businesses get to go, Herrick said.
“And the product they have is certainly in demand,” he said of Spring Lake.
Mission participants will have stops in Chengdu and Shanghai, one of the most populous cities in the world.
Participants will also meet with dozens of Chinese producers, importers, buyers, distributors and investors, as well as attend the Food Ingredients China trade show. Scuse will cut the ribbon to open the show’s USA Pavilion.