Hong Kong, China, August 18, 2017 /Xinwengao.com/ - Leading Californian food and wine exhibitors at HK Food Expo 2017 The State of California has seen a 21 percent bump in exports – valued at US$4.20 billion – to China, its third largest market, between April and June 2017 compared to the same period last year. This is according Beacon Economics who also state that, over the same timeframe, exports to Hong Kong leapt 27.1 percent (US$2.12 billion) displacing South Korea to become California’s fifth largest trading partner. The Sunshine State grows more than 200 different crops, is responsible for 99 percent of all pistachio exports and produces over a third of all vegetables and two thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts. Top exports are almonds (valued at US$5.14 billion annually), dairy products, walnuts, wine, lettuce, flowers, lemons, tomatoes, grapes, rice, oranges, strawberries, as well as pistachios. Commenting on the trade figures, Jeffrey Williamson, Director, California State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP), sees a rosy future ahead for Californian food and beverage producers: “California is enjoying an unprecedented 7.1 percent increase in exports year-on-year and the immense surge in demand from China and Hong Kong is set to continue. The new rice agreement will certainly bolster exports, particularly as orders are expected to be in the region of fifty thousand metric tons in the first year. Two thirds of this will be made up by Californian producers. Overall, California food and agricultural exports to Hong Kong grew by 30% from 2015 to 2016 – with a record US$1.8 billion in exports.” Rice growers in California will be looking forward to early 2018 when their crops will appear in China’s rice bowls for the first time following the successful conclusion of nearly two decades of negotiation. Currently, California, the nation’s second largest producer of rice, is responsible for almost 40 percent of all U.S. rice exports. “When we look at where the growth is coming from, there is a continued desire by middle to high income earners in China and Hong Kong to buy products with certifiable food provenance and of high quality. The Sunshine State has tough food safety laws and these benefit consumer and exporters ultimately.” Looking ahead, the resumption of beef exports to China after a fourteen year hiatus will have a positive impact on the Californian farmers who are the nation’s fourth largest producer of cattle. Total U.S. beef exports to Hong Kong last year were valued at US$684 million; the fifth largest market in the world. Another area of high promise is wine. China is predicted to be the world’s third largest wine importer by 2020 and again, this demand is driven by middle to high income earners thirsty for quality alcoholic beverages.