WSDA and EDASC lead Korea Outbound Trade Mission – February 2019

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

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The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA), in partnership with the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County (EDASC), are considering conducting a trade mission to South Korea focused on specialty, organic, and value-added agriculture, during the mid-February 2019 time frame. 

This trade mission would offer participants an excellent opportunity to conduct firsthand market research; meet with prospective buyers; and learn the lay of the land for doing business in Korea, one of Washington State’s most important international economic partners. This potential mission is ideal for Washington State farms and businesses in the value-added agriculture sector, and that are new to exporting or exploring opportunities to enter or expand in global markets. All participants will be responsible for their travel costs. To help offset some of the costs, the Washington State Department of Commerce has a STEP Export Voucher Program which awards up to $5,000 for eligible new-to-export or new-to-market companies. There is a 25% cash match required or up to $1,250 to receive the full voucher. There is an application process which includes a review committee.

As part of the mission, EDASC is also exploring a study visit to Washington’s Korean sister state, Jeollabuk Province. Korea’s leading agricultural region, Jeollabuk Province hosts several national-level agricultural research facilities, and is a center within Korea for agritourism, culinary tourism, and local food promotion activities. This potential side visit could offer good opportunities for Washington educational and research institutions, local governments, and others to learn about these activities, and to develop connections with Korean counterpart organizations.

We are currently measuring interest levels for this potential mission, and are eager to hear from Washington farmers, ranchers, food and beverage businesses, and other agriculture sector groups that may wish to participate. If you are interested, or would like more information, please contact Julie Johnson at jjohnson@agr.wa.gov or Sean Connell at sean@skagit.org by Friday, September 14.

Why Korea?  Korea is Washington’s fourth-largest export market for agriculture products, which totaled $520 million in 2017. Under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement implemented in 2012, two-thirds of Korean tariffs on U.S. agricultural products were eliminated immediately, with other tariffs and other market restrictions being phased out every year and further opening Korea’s market. Washington State farmers and agriculture businesses have experienced significant new growth in Korea, including cherries, wheat, seafood, hay, French fries, and other products. Moreover, organic agriculture is increasingly popular among Korean consumers, and the craft beer scene has started to expand. Although Korea is a highly competitive market that can be challenging to enter, it presents excellent opportunities for Washington State farmers and producers with high-quality, top-notch agriculture products.

Category: Economic Development, International, Trade, Korea, Value-Added Agriculture