Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter today praised the success of Idaho's recent trade mission to China, citing the promising business opportunities created for several Idaho companies working to leverage expansion abroad into growth -- and creation of more jobs -- here at home.
The Governor led a delegation of 16 Idaho companies and organizations to China in mid-April for a series of high-level meetings with government and business officials in Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing. China is the third-largest foreign market for Idaho goods, buying more than $625.9 million in Idaho exports last year. China was selected for the mission after more than 41 percent of Idaho companies surveyed identified it as their business destination of choice.
"Selling Idaho goods and services to other countries is an important part of our strategy for meeting the goals of Project 60," Governor Otter said. "One of the reasons this trip was so successful was the diverse range of Idaho companies involved. Some of these companies were making their first sale in China, while others were building on past successes. Trade missions provide a great opportunity to do both."
The Governor's leadership enabled participating companies to access key decision makers and high-level business and government officials and to present existing customers with the Idaho Governor's Valued Partner Awards
"Governor Otter made it clear that Idaho businesses have the support of his office and State agencies to help them succeed in China, as well as to protect the investments Idaho businesses make in China," said Don Schwemmer, president of Rexburg-based AMET Inc. "I was fortunate to observe, firsthand, how serious and committed the Governor is about promoting business and growth in Idaho."
Another key objective of the Governor's trade missions is to support Idaho's existing business relationships. That was accomplished in China through the collaboration between the Idaho departments of Commerce and Agriculture to identify and pre-qualify appointments with key industry and government officials for each company on the mission.
Paul Haacke, vice president of International Sales for Idaho Falls-based wellness products company Melaleuca, said, "Clear and open communication with the Chinese government are critical to Melaleuca's success in China." Melaleuca is among only ten international companies licensed to conduct direct sales in China. "The State of Idaho's assistance in opening doors to decision-makers is critical for our future success in the market."
Below is a summary of results from some of those who participated in the 2012 Governor's trade mission to China.
AMET Inc. -- Headquartered in Rexburg, AMET Inc. designs and manufactures advanced welding control systems used in the power generation, power distribution and aerospace industries. As a result of the trade mission, it is estimated that exports of AMET's products to China will increase $1.5 million, with sales in China increasing by $2 million to $3 million over the next 18 months.
BioTracking LLC -- BioTracking is a Moscow-based manufacturer of diagnostic tools to help improve livestock health and production. On a 2010 Idaho mission to China, the company joined meetings with Idaho alfalfa growers to explore opportunities to sell its diagnostic tools to large Chinese dairies. Two years later, the company signed a supply agreement with Shanghai Bright Dairy Holstan to purchase testing supplies for the determination of pregnancy in dairy herds. This marked BioTracking's first sale in China, and the company has already received payment for its first major order. It is anticipated that the Bright Dairy Holstan will conduct at least 5,000 tests on dairy cattle in the next year, increasing over the next 18 months. With 12 million dairy cattle in China, additional sales are very likely and BioTracking plans to expand its sales efforts to Chinese beef cattle producers as well. "Without the two Governor's trade missions, we most likely would not have sales in China," BioTracking President Garth Sasser said.
DocuTech -- This Idaho Falls-based company, which specializes in document preparation and technology solutions for the consumer mortgage industry, used the mission to meet with several potential customers in China's consumer mortgage industry. As a result of the mission, DocuTech received an open invitation to work with a software company and a major Chinese bank. The company is planning a return trip to the market in the near future and is optimistic about creating new business opportunities in China in the next 12-18 months.
Idaho Potato Commission -- China is a huge food market and even a small piece of any segment will be significant for the Idaho potato industry. Two years ago when the Idaho Potato Commission participated in the 2010 Governor's trade mission to China, it introduced a processed retail product to retailers. As a result, one retailer has been carrying the product for more than a year. An extensive launch by an Idaho processor is planned for this fall. This mission helped the commission finalize plans for its support of the launch, and significant additional sales are expected in the next 18 months.