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Oregon, western states return from Asia with high hopes
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Ten days split between Singapore and South Korea were enough to convince top agriculture officials from 12 western states that the Pacific Rim is the right place at the right time for the kinds of products those states can offer:
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Audio 01
The trade mission organized by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association included Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba, who remains especially excited about South Korea following ratification of a free trade agreement between that country and the US: 
COBA: "The economic growth, the buying power, their interest in western products, their interest in high-quality, safe, nutritional foods- all of those are things that Oregon is extremely well positioned to provide for that market." :12
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Audio 02
Representatives of Oregon's blueberry, wine, grass seed, and hay industries were also part of the delegation and were on hand to meet with Korean buyers, as were industry officials from the other western states: 
COBA: "There was more buyer interest than there was time for the meetings. So there is a lot of followup interest from buyers to meet with these groups as well as huge demand for Oregon products." :12
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Oregon is the first and only state so far with approval to export fresh blueberries to South Korea, with the initial shipment hopefully taking place early summer. The delegation also spent time in Singapore, taking part in a major food show and visiting the world's second largest container port- a gateway to fast growing Southeast Asian markets. Overall, it was a successful trade mission. In Salem, I'm Bruce Pokarney.

Additional audio: Audio 03
COBA says the stopover in Singapore was significant and gave officials from all western states a good perspective on why it's such an important market: 
"My second time to Singapore, it just re-emphasized how Singapore is a gateway to Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is a growing market, it's a market again with a lot of opportunity for Oregon agriculture whether it is in Vietnam or Malaysia or what have you. But Singapore is the shipping hub." :20
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Additional audio: Audio 04
COBA says the Oregon Department of Agriculture has been in these Asian markets many times over the years on behalf of the ag industry. But for many of the other western states, it was their first trip overseas and they look to ODA for assistance in the future: 
"We clearly are one of the top marketing programs for the western states. The other states recognize that and, as opposed to being jealous, I think they really want our help." :12
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