Washington agriculture continues to feed the world. With $8.6 billion in Washington-origin food and agriculture exports, our producers are among the nation’s leaders in the global marketplace. The future of food exports is looking bright and the quality of our produce is second to none.
With India’s growing middle class and this year’s new U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the timing of Gov. Gregoire’s trade mission couldn’t be better. India is already our biggest market for the Palouse’s dried peas, lentils and chickpeas. India imports more apples from Washington than from any other growing region in the world. Korea continues to be a top ten destination of Washington foods, and with Korean import duties on their way to zero, export growth is sure to follow.
On this mission, we will market Washington foods wherever we go. We will serve delicious traditional samosas in New Delhi made from Washington chickpeas and potatoes – paired with Washington wines, of course. We’ll visit a Costco in Seoul to highlight the dozens of Washington foods that Korean shoppers love. And we’ll talk to government leaders in both countries about further reducing import duties and non-tariff barriers to our commodities.
While a governor’s mission is certainly our highest-profile event, WSDA’s International Marketing Program has a track record of success built on in-bound trade missions and training for businesses. Last year, we helped Washington firms make $94 million in overseas sales. Now we’ve launched an expanded export development effort that will prepare dozens of Washington companies to reap rewards through international sales. It’s another strategy to support an agricultural industry that continues to thrive during challenging economic times.