Washington Trade Mission Very Successful
Governor Gary Locke said his recent trade mission to China and Vietnam was extremely successful with business on the mission reporting actual sales of $1.4 million and an estimated $41.4 million in projected sales in the next 12 months.
Locke led a 26-member delegation that included members of the Washington State Potato Commission.
Executive Director Pat Boss of the WSPC said Gov. Locke served french fries made from Washington potatoes at a KFC in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
"The event exceeded my wildest expectations," Boss said. "With over 8 million people in Ho Chi Minh City and 80 million in Vietnam, the event was fantastic."
In 1995 there were no United States fries entering Vietnam. However, last year Vietnam imported alomost 200 metric tons. The majority of those shipments came from Washington state processing plants and were shipped through Washington state ports.
In China, the trade mission met with President Hu. Governor Locke urged the president to give a high priority to finishing the Pacific Northwest potato risk assessments.
Vice Minister Ze Ghirong indicated that the PRA would now be included as a high priority in the Chinese Government's PRA work plan, raising it to the same level as Alaska seed and fresh potato Pest Risk Assessments.
Ghirong said they will make every effort to move forward with the PRA by the U.S./China bilateral meetings set for December.