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Published January 28, 2013, 10:16 AM

Tell China about trade opportunities

South Dakota delegation will make second trip to promote trade.

By: Rapid City, (S.D.) Journal,

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is leading another trade mission to China in April, and this time the trade delegation will be more focused on its goal of increasing exports with South Dakota’s third-largest trade partner.

Daugaard recently told the Rapid City, (S.D.) Journal that he will take 15 business leaders from the state along on the trade mission. He says the Governor’s Office of Economic Development is still looking for state companies that are interested in participating in the trade trip and are already exporting products or are export-ready.

Daugaard says that because the Chinese are so government-oriented, having a state governor on the mission lends credibility to companies that are interested in opening trade with China. “It’s not a tourism trip,” he says, adding that last year’s visit included only one side trip to Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Last year’s trip was in conjunction with North Dakota’s trade group, and the delegation followed their lead. This year, the South Dakota delegation is making the trip on its own and because of contacts made in its first mission last year, it has a better idea of who to talk to on the return trip.

The visit is being timed to coincide with a China food show because of the potential for exporting South Dakota agricultural products. Daugaard says the Chinese are interested in ag imports because their agriculture industry is “unbelievably primitive.”

“China has a huge demand for importing food and feed,” says South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Walt Bones. “South Dakota’s agriculture businesses are well positioned to supply China the products they need.”

Like last year’s trade mission, the trip is being funded by a federal State Trade and Export Promotion grant from the Small Business Association.

We are pleased to see South Dakota return to China to expose the world’s largest nation to South Dakota-grown and made products. According to the U.S. China Business Council, South Dakota’s exports to China have grown from $20 million in 2009 to $70 million in 2011. Despite tripling exports in just two years, South Dakota still has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the country on trading with China. South Dakota may have arrived late to the China trade dance, but the potential for increasing business with China is enormous — more than 30 states have exports of more than $500 million.

South Dakota has to sell itself to the Chinese as a good trading partner, and the only place to do that is in China.

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