Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced Nov. 15 that his trade mission to China, Hong Kong, and Macau led to the signing of nine agreements to bolster markets for Nebraska beef and pork. The trade delegation included state officials from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), Nebraska Department of Economic Development, farmers and ranchers, and representatives from the University of Nebraska and Nebraska businesses.
“With China’s growing middle class, there are many opportunities here for Nebraska farmers and ranchers to grow markets for our high-quality commodities and food products,” said Ricketts. “Signing letters of intent with representatives from nine successful businesses and restaurants in China, Hong Kong, and Macau keeps Nebraska growing and helps the state’s farm and ranch families for many years to come.”
The trade mission followed a recent announcement by Chinese officials about their plans to reopen the beef trade between China and the U.S. China had previously banned importation of American beef in 2003. Hong Kong has purchased and promoted Nebraska beef and continues to expand their markets. In 2015, Hong Kong was Nebraska’s sixth largest export market, accounting for $234 million in goods purchased from our state with approximately 80% being exported food products.
“To prepare for China’s first purchases of U.S. beef in more than a decade, Nebraska officials are working closely with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office,” said NDA director Greg Ibach. “We want to be ready and able to take advantage of the opportunity when it happens.”
Highlights of the delegations’ agriculture-related activities during the trip included a trip to Shanghai, where the delegation met with the owner of Yue 6 Cuisine & Lounge, a progressive, fusion-style restaurant serving U.S./Nebraska pork. The restaurant signed a letter of intent to purchase more U.S. and Nebraska pork.
In Macau, the delegation attended the annual Nebraska BBQ at the Studio City Hotel where 350 food industry representatives were there to see firsthand the advantages of using beef and pork from Nebraska. Angliss Macau Food Service Limited signed a letter of intent to purchase Nebraska beef and pork.
Several letters of intent were also sign in Hong Kong. Companies included Kateford International Limited, Sutherland Company Limited, Viva Asia, Saison Food Service Limited, Wilson International Frozen Foods Ltd, and the International Culinary Institute of Vocational Training Council.
On the last day of the trade mission, delegates enjoyed lunch at the Nebraska Steakhouse in Hong Kong where officials signed a letter of intent to purchase and promote additional Nebraska beef.