WASHINGTON – A new Agricultural Trade Office has opened in Shenyang, the capital of northwest China's international trade hub in Liaoning province, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced. Jim Miller, Agricultural Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, officially opened the office on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

China is the world's second-largest economy behind the U.S. and the second-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, importing roughly $13 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products in fiscal year 2009. In addition to continued demand for traditional products such as soybeans and cotton, there has also been strong demand for high-value and high-quality products such as meat and consumer-oriented products including wine and beer.

"Increased agricultural exports create important income opportunities for producers as well as the off-farm jobs that are so critical for strengthening economies in rural America," Mr. Vilsack said. "China is a vital market for U.S. agricultural products, and this new office will help exporters take advantage of rising per capita incomes and steady economic growth in the region by raising the profile of American agricultural and food products."

This opening marks U.S.D.A.'s expansion into the dynamic hub of northeast China and reflects the administration's National Export Initiative, which hopes to double American exports in the next five years. It also represents a significant hallmark as the U.S. progresses from the major market centers of Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai, to up-and-coming emerging city markets like Shenyang and Chengdu.