Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Pat Takasugi and other agriculture and business leaders are in the Chinese administrative region of Macao last month promoting Idaho commodities.
There, Takasugi and other Idaho delegation members are meeting with local political and economic leaders including Macao chief executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah and Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute President Lee Peng Hong.
"The meetings we have in Macao will help us learn more about this market and affirm Idaho's commitment to being a part of this growing trade region," says Takasugi. "The connections we make and relationships we build will help foster new market opportunities for Idaho agriculture, which, in turn, benefit our state's economy."
Takasugi notes that these personal visits by Idaho officials to China have proven to be of significant importance. The Chinese value face-to-face interaction with prospective trade partners.
The Macao administrative region comprises a southeastern China peninsula and two islands in the South China Sea west of Hong Kong. Macao was a Portuguese province until 1999, when it reverted to Chinese control. Macao is growing economically, and opportunities for American investment and trade.
October statistics show Macao tourism jumped nearly 20% from the previous year. This surge comes largely from the region's casino gambling industry. Macao is the only place in China where gambling is legal. Several Las Vegas-based casinos have opened shopping, gambling and resort complexes there.
American restaurant mainstays are also becoming part of the economic fabric. Recently, Starbucks announced the opening of a store in the recently built Wynn Casino Resort in Macao. The store became Starbuck's first in Macao's travel and tourism district.
"Starbucks is one example of the potential economic opportunity that is now just being realized in Macao," Takasugi says. "If we can find just one business venture in Macao that benefits Idaho agriculture, we will be doing our state a tremendous service in the long run."