Agriculture Press Release

May 31, 2000

Seminars to help Florida growers export products to newly opened mainland China market

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford today announced a series of exporting seminars to help Florida agricultural producers capitalize on the recently opened mainland China market.

Following closely on the heels of Crawfords historic trip to China in March when he delivered the first commercial shipment of Florida citrus, the seminars will provide Florida growers with information they need before venturing into this newly tapped, complex foreign market.

"Now that the mainland China market has been opened to citrus, the potential for sales is enormous," Crawford said. "Florida producers would be well advised to learn about this new market, its culture and commerce, and the intricacies involved in trading there. I urge anyone interested in exporting to China to attend these seminars and gain important insight into this huge new market," Crawford said.

The seminars, set for June 26, 28 and 30, will be conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and feature presentations by U.S. and Chinese experts in several areas of global agricultural trade, as well as participation by the Florida Department of Citrus.

Topics to be covered during the seminars include:

  • Geography, transportation infrastructure, ports of entry, water traffic
  • Demographics, economic conditions, cultural practices, shopping habits
  • Merchandising, advertising, cross-promotion
  • Phyto-sanitary and special packaging requirements
  • U.S. shipping, logistics, costs
  • Tariffs, financing, importers, relationships, China connections
  • First-trip preparations, visas, accommodations

Dates and locations of the seminars are as follows:

  • Monday, June 26, 2000
    Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa
    17260 Harbour Pointe Drive
    Fort Myers, Florida
  • Wednesday, June 28, 2000
    Disneys Vero Beach Resort
    9250 Island Grove Terrace
    Vero Beach, Florida
  • Friday, June 30, 2000
    Department of Citrus Building
    1115 East Memorial Boulevard
    Lakeland, Florida

For more information or to register to attend a seminar, contact Kimi Moore, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at (850) 922-9828.

In March, Crawford sold the first official retail shipment of U.S. citrus in mainland China when he carried several boxes of Florida grapefruit and oranges to a market in the bustling downtown area of the Chinese capital of Beijing.

While the historic sale was taking place, three 40,000-pound containers of Florida citrus were making their way to China by ship. Those shipments were being made by DNE World Fruit Sales, of Fort Pierce, which had buyers for the fruit in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Crawfords trip followed a decision by China one week earlier to permit U.S. citrus to be sold in China. It culminated a decade-long effort by Crawfords office and the federal government to open China to U.S. citrus.

During his visit, Crawford discussed with his Chinese hosts the necessity of expandingthe number of Florida counties that will be permitted to sell citrus in China. It is currently limited to Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Collier, Hendry and Lee counties.  Crawford will work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture so that Florida can document and satisfy China that other Florida counties producing citrus that are not on the list have no fruit fly problems. Crawford said his goal is to permit an expanded list of citrus-producing counties in Florida eligible to ship products to China in time for the beginning of the next growing season this fall.

Research conducted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Citrus indicates China could ultimately represent Floridas largest overseas citrus market. Of Chinas 1.29 billion residents, up to 300 million may be potential customers.

Marchs historic sale concluded years of efforts by Crawfords office and the Florida citrus industry to open China to U.S. citrus. In 1997, Crawford led an extensive trade delegation to China and Hong Kong, meeting numerous government and industry officials. Last year, he opened a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services office in Beijing to work with Chinese government officials on the implementation of the trade agreement and to identify channels of distribution for Florida citrus products. And, last November, Crawford sent a trade delegation to China to explore the logistics of trade with China and develop the long-term relationships necessary for successful trade development.

Only two weeks after Crawford personally carried the first commercial shipment of U.S. citrus to China, Florida growers began to benefit from the newly opened market by selling 32 containers of fresh Florida citrus -- constituting nearly 1.3 million pounds -- to that country. The sale was disclosed at a dinner April 12 in Beijing, which was hosted by the Florida

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Citrus for about 50 Chinese importers, distributors and supermarket chain representatives. The dinner followed a major trade show in that city in which Florida citrus products were displayed.


For more information:
Terence McElroy
(850) 488-3022

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