Michigan working to trade with China despite tariff talk

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Come September, nearly a dozen state agriculture experts including food producers and processors will head on over to China to talk trade.

“The middle class market is continuing to grow. They’re looking for great quality food and we produce a lot of that here in Michigan,” said Gordon Wenk.

Wenk, the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says our state has exported goods to China for years and this trip is a way to gain more business overseas.

“The fruit sector is certainly one that we’ve seen a lot of opportunity for either processed fruits or dried fruits etc. Wood products are another area where we’ve seen a growth in sales to China,” Wenk stated.

Wenk says just last year, Michigan companies exported $140-million dollars’ worth of trade goods to China and he hopes that the president’s plan to drop steep tariffs on Chinese exports doesn’t complicate any future business deals.

“Certainly the talk of tariffs can put some uncertainty in the market but I think even with that uncertainty if you aren’t out there letting folks know or pitching your products and showing them what great quality we have, we’re not going to be able to sell anything,” said Wenk.

Wenk says he ultimately hopes the U.S. allows free trade for as many agricultural products as possible. But if not, he says that decision won’t deter him from moving forward to market Michigan’s products.

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