Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, chair of the California Commission for Economic Development (CED), today announced the formation of the California Wine and Cheese Expo in Shanghai Pudong's Wai Gaoqiao Free Trade Zone.
"At the Commission for Economic Development, we craft strategies to help improve California's economy and business climate, and beneficial international trade relationships are an essential part of that equation," said Garamendi. "China's white collar population is expanding rapidly, and demand for quality wines and cheeses is on the rise. The opening of the California Wine and Cheese Expo in Shanghai will provide California's wine and cheese industries access to an important and growing part of the international economy."
In February 2009, the CED, under Lt. Governor Garamendi, organized a California business delegation of leading California executives to visit China. Paul Lam, Chairman and CEO of Y. S. Investments Inc. and a CED advisory committee member, led the delegation of over forty executives to visit Beijing, Xian and Shanghai. The purpose of the trip was to showcase California businesses and products as well as develop strategic partnerships to attract Chinese investments into our great state of California.
One of the outcomes of the delegation visit was the establishment of the California Wine and Cheese Expo inside the largest free trade zone in China (with over 1.2 million square feet of exhibition space). Strategically located inside the Shanghai Pudong Wai Gaoqiao Free Trade Zone, the California Wine and Cheese Expo will enable California wineries and cheese companies to take advantage of the rapidly growing Chinese demand for these products.
The Expo, open on an ongoing basis, increases access and reduces travel costs for California wine and cheese manufacturers by creating a central location for Chinese buyers throughout China to visit, taste and buy California wine and cheese. At the Expo, customs clearance, food safety inspections, and distribution strategies can all be conducted at the same location, reducing associated costs.
"The concept is phenomenal, because within the Free Trade Zone, they have their own customs clearance, food safety inspection, and you do not pay any import duty until your products are sold. The California Wine and Cheese Expo will make it so much easier for California wineries and cheese companies to market to China because she is a very complex market," said Stan Andre, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), who visited the Wai Gaoqiao Free Trade Zone and attended the signing ceremony between Lam and the China International Commodity Center. "Now the Chinese hotels, restaurants, retail stores can come to one place to buy our products. The opportunity is huge, just selling to a few major cities will result in over 100 million potential customers. We at CMAB will mobilize our cheese members to fully take advantage of this opportunity"