Idaho Looks to Bolster China Trade

Published online: Apr 10, 2017 Mark Niu

Idaho is one of the smallest U.S. states by population, but does big trade with China, the state’s fourth-largest export market.

A third of U.S. potatoes come from Idaho, a land of big spaces and few people.

Doug Gross is a second-generation potato grower in Idaho.

“We have rich volcanic soil. We have a great climate with warm days and cool nights throughout the summer that just work perfectly for potatoes,” says Gross. “I don’t think there’s any doubt they are the best in the world.”

Gross Farms is a mid-size operation that produces about 45 million pounds of potatoes each year. About 10 percent are sold as fresh, while the other 90 percent will become french fries. The second-largest export market for Idaho’s french fries is China. Exporting fresh potatoes to China is not allowed, but growers like Gross hope positive trade relations will open doors.

“For us in Idaho, we only have a million-and-a-half people that live here,” he says. “Much of ag production has to be shipped elsewhere. So any market, especially the Chinese market—where it’s a developing market—[where] the middle income is rising [is promising]. We see that as a great consumer.”

Potato chips are big in Idaho, but to the surprise of many, computer chips are even bigger. Semiconductors and industrial equipment make up nearly 86 percent of Idaho’s exports to China. The biggest player is Micron Technology, which has often been rumored as being an acquisition target for China’s Tsinghua group.

Standing at the intersection of tech and agriculture, Idaho looks to a future where the world knows the true value of what the state is all about.

 

Source: CGTN America

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