Chinese trade delegation visits Fresno

June 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
For Valley food companies invited to showcase their products, a visit by a trade delegation from China represented a major opportunity.

The 20 member delegation was made up of business leaders and investors. They were looking to form Valley partnerships to solidify the country's food supply.

The group from Shanghai, China came to Fresno in search of solutions. They visited the Water, Energy and Technology Center at Fresno State to learn how to get the most out of precious resources.

China's middle class is estimated at half a billion people - more than the population of the US. Those numbers spell opportunity for us companies.

US-China Business Association president Tie Zhang said, "California produce best of the best Ag products. Certainly, Fresno is epicenter of Ag lands and products so we like to come here work with the mayor's office."

City of Fresno Business Development manager Craig Scharton said, "Some of the same health concerns we have about food coming out of China the Chinese also have so they're really interested in California because of our tight food safety regulations."

The delegation came to the right place. 93% of the state's oranges come from the Valley. 99% of California's pistachios are grown in the Valley.

"Nature's Joy" is one of 18 Valley food companies hoping to catch the delegation's eye. Operations manager Debbie Loyd explained, "Joy is a good word in China. It's lucky."

The brand new pistachio company sells its nuts at the counters of places like Marshall's so the chance to reach a massive market is enticing.

Loyd said, "It's a huge opportunity. The Chinese are the biggest importer of California pistachios as a country."

Pistachio production is expected to almost double by 2020.

The Chinese delegation also looked over downtown Fresno properties for possible investments before they left for Los Angeles.


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