Goehring to promote ND ag products in China

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says developing and expanding markets for North Dakota agricultural commodities, especially soybeans, is a major focus of the state's upcoming trade mission to China.

“North Dakota has a solid reputation for quality commodities, especially small grains, pulses and oilseeds,” said Goehring, who left Tuesday, for Beijing. “In recent years, however, the state has become a leading producer of soybeans, and we need more new buyers for them.”

In Beijing, Goehring, joined by representatives of the Northern Food Grade Soybean Association, will confer with officials of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Chinese agency responsible for import-export food inspection and certification.

“We want to introduce our hosts to our soybeans, particularly food-grade soybeans from the upper Midwest,” said Goehring, who grows soybeans on his Menoken farm and is a former director of the United Soybean Board. “We also want to discuss some of the challenges currently holding up the potential relationships between North Dakota exporters and Chinese buyers.”

In Shanghai, North Dakota Department of Agriculture Marketing specialist Stephanie Sinner will coordinate the Food Export – Midwest pavilion at Food Ingredients China, the largest food ingredients trade show in Asia with more than 1,100 exhibitors from 27 countries.

“The North Dakota State Mill and Dakota Specialty Milling of Fargo are among the exhibitors,” Goehring said. “This is a major opportunity to meet buyers, to learn more about their needs and see how we can meet those needs with North Dakota products.”

Goehring said the Chinese have expressed interested in sunflowers and flax; North Dakota is the nation's leading producer for sunflowers and flax.

Also in Shanghai, Goehring will discuss business and investment opportunities with leading Chinese trade officials at a seminar.

“Attracting Chinese investment in North Dakota is certainly an important aspect of the trade mission,” he said. “It makes sense for the Chinese to invest in North Dakota since we both need each other's markets. We know what North Dakota has to offer – agricultural products and machinery, oil, potash and coal – to name a few. We also have the first rate educational facilities, a quality workforce, low crime rate and other factors attractive to investors.”

During the 10-day trade mission, Goehring also expects to meet with U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse who is leading another trade mission to China.

The trade mission is coordinated by the North Dakota Trade Office with assistance from North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Commercial Service, USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, the North Dakota Soybean Council, and the Food Export Association of the Midwest.