International trade seminars aimed at helping farmers, ranchers and other agribusiness professionals will be featured at the 2008 World Ag Expo on Tuesday, Feb. 12, organized by the Center for International Trade Development, State Center Community College District, University Center Export Program and the California Department of Food and Agriculture, with media support from Meister Media Worldwide. The seminars are free with paid World Ag Expo admission.

“The business environment of agriculture relies heavily on international cooperation. Farmers must be aware and informed of changing regulations and evolving markets. I hope that show attendees can leave the Expo will a better understanding of timely international trade information,” said Shelley Khal, 2008 World Ag Expo chairman.

Seminars will take place in the Expo Seminar Center on Median Street, between P and Q Streets.

International guests are also encouraged to visit the International Business Center located on the Heritage Complex’s second floor. International visitors can network with exhibitors interested in exporting and importing. Volunteer translators are available for over 35 languages and dialects (including sign language) for visitors from nearly 67 countries.

Seminar schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, Feb. 12

10 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. – The World of Biofuels

Biofuels development is rapidly expanding throughout the world. Driving the expansion is a number of issues, including greenhouse gas reductions, energy security, and rural economic development. This seminar provides an opportunity to hear about what is happening in the world of biofuels in Sweden, Brazil, the United States and California. Learn about the latest information on various biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, biomethane and next generation fuels. Moderator: Steve Shaffer, California Department of Food and Agriculture; Panelists Professor Bryan M. Jenkins, UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; John Boesel, WestStart-CALSTART; Raphael Nieves, BBI, International; Matthew Summers, Summers Consulting

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – U.S. Free Trade Agreements: Does Free Trade Equate to Fair Trade?

The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) are designed to remove trade barriers between the United States and these other countries.

Is the elimination of past barriers really improving the U.S. competitiveness and establishing a fair playing field for all countries involved? Learn what today’s Free Trade Agreements really mean and how you can save time and money. Andrew Stephens, Director for Bilateral Agricultural Affairs, Office of the United States Trade Representative; Eduardo Torres, Director, U.S. Department of Commerce, Fresno Export Assistance Center

1 p.m. – 1:50 p.m. – China’s Food Quality: Vote of No Confidence or Safety on the Horizon?

China’s agricultural exports to the United States surged to $2.26 billion last year, but major countries continue to ban whole categories of products due to consumer safety issues. As the People’s Republic of China fights to get a handle on quality control, can the U.S. consumer afford to continue doing “business as usual”? A roundtable discussion will be held on quality control issues in China and how they are affecting the U.S. consumers of today and tomorrow. Aaron Ormond, Global Food Technologies; Dr. Michael Payne, Western Institute of Food Safety and Security; Dr. Christine M. Bruhn, Director, Center for Consumer Research at UC Davis

2 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. – Who is your Competition: Domestically and Abroad?

We live in an increasingly globalized world where international trade has consistently risen faster than the gross domestic product and this has been viewed as the catalyst for world growth. This seminar will provide you with an overview of the global competition facing U.S. growers both foreign and domestic. You will discover the current and future challenges our growers will face and the opportunities you cannot afford to miss! Dr. Mechel S. Paggi, Director, Center for Agricultural Business, California State University, Fresno

3 p.m. – 4 p.m. – The California-Brazil Connection: Ethanol, Biodiesel, Electricity and Beyond.

The production and use of fuel ethanol in Brazil since 1975 represents the most important renewable, commercial fuel program ever implemented in the world to date. California and the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil have an existing cooperating MOU on biofuels biodiversity and the environment. Opportunities for collaboration on bioenergy crops and advanced conversion technologies are among the topics that will be discussed.

Moderator: Steve Shaffer, California Department of Food and Agriculture – Office of Agriculture and Environmental Stewardship; Panelists: Alfred Szwarc, UNICA, São Paulo, Brazil; Craig S. Elmore, Imperial BioResources, LLC; Rahul Iyer, Primafuel

The 2008 World Ag Expo is Feb. 12-14, at the International Agri-Center in Tulare, Calif. This year, the Expo will expand to 2.6 million square feet with the addition of the Dairy Technology Center and outdoor exhibits in the dairy section. The 2008 World Ag Expo is Where the World of Agriculture Means Business. For more information visit www.worldagexpo.com or call 800-999-9186.