Valley business leaders and Ag trade with China

FRESNO, Calif.

High speed rail wasn't the only Chinese connection Governor Brown sought during his trade trip. The export of California AG products, including pistachios, beef and almonds, increased 25 percent last year.

Chris Rosander of the Raisin Administrative Committee was encouraged by what he saw in China. 40 percent of the raisins produced in the Valley are exported. Japan and the U.K. currently are the top markets.

Rosander said, "Potential for raisins is huge in china. I predict eventually it will become our largest export market."

Pete Weber of California Forward says it is not easy to crack the Chinese market.

Weber said, "It's a very bureaucratic place. Second, there are trade tensions that arise from time to time, which is why weber says the trip was helpful for valley industries to build relationships with China. The governor's decision to open a trade office in Shanghai will help draw investors and importers."

Weber said their new trade office makes a statement about the fact that they are serious about doing business in China.

Rosander said, "The middle class is now 300 million people. That's as large as our entire country so it's an incredible market for California markets."

Weber says Valley AG exports to China have quadrupled in the last four years.

"I was thinking Chairman Mao would not recognize China as it exists today. It's become very entrepreneurial, very market capitalistic," Weber said.

Weber thinks of China as a high-risk market which could produce high rewards for businesses.

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