The United States Department of Agriculture has opened a new agricultural trade office in China. The newest USDA office is located in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu, the fifth most populous city in China.

USDA presently operates another three offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. In 2007, China imported approximately $8.2 billion in agricultural goods from the U.S. The Chinese demand for U.S. cotton and soybeans is the largest market for those products anywhere in the world. Nuts, wine, and dairy products made significant jumps in 2007, with a 44 percent increase over 2006.

A. Ellen Terpstra, under secretary of USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, believes China is an essential market for U.S. agriculture. “It is one of the world’s largest economies and the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports. Rising per capita incomes and steady economic growth are creating new demand for U.S. foods and beverages in this region. This office will help U.S. exporters position themselves to take advantage of these trends.”

Following the Chengdu inauguration, Terpstra will attend the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and the U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. As a member of a greater U.S. delegation, Terpstra is traveling with officials from a variety of U.S. governmental organizations, including the Treasury, Commerce, Health and Human Services departments, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The USDA currently has 102 overseas offices in 82 countries. The director of the Chengdu office is USDA’s Kevin Latner. The Chengdu office can be reached via e-mail at ATOChengdu@fas.usda.gov.