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Oregon Agriculture Department Will Lead Trade Mission To China Amid Federal Uncertainty

<p>A vineyard in Mount Angel, Oregon.</p>

A vineyard in Mount Angel, Oregon.

The director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture will embark on a trade mission to China next week with several Oregon agricultural producers.

That's despite efforts by the Trump Administration to beef up trade tariffs targeted at China. President Donald Trump has said he considers China a bad actor when it comes to trade.

But ODA says trade with China is critical for Oregon’s agricultural producers. China is Oregon's fourth largest trading partner. Last year, more than $290 million dollars in Oregon food and agricultural products were shipped to China.

"I think there is a lot of trade rhetoric going on at the federal level, but China is a top market across the country for food and agriculture from states all over the country," said Alexis Taylor, director of the ODA.

"So I think  is very much in line with where agriculture is across the country whether that’s where we are from a policy aspect from the federal government or not."

Representatives from several Oregon agricultural companies and the Oregon Potato Commission, the Port of Portland and the Oregon Beef Council will also participate in the trade mission to promote their products. The companies will also look at Chinese consumer trends and how to connect with those consumers.

Taylor says this is a great opportunity for Oregon beef producers in particular because it’s the first time in more than a decade that they can ship beef to China.

"Trade is so important to a strong agricultural economy. A strong ag economy equals a strong Oregon economy, and China is a really exciting and dynamic market," Taylor said.

ODA hosts outbound trade missions throughout the year. The department also has a marketing staff that connects Oregon businesses with markets nationally and internationally.

The trade mission to China will take place from May 12-17.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ericka Cruz Guevarra