The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is offering Virginia specialty producers the opportunity to introduce their products to the upscale Japanese market through a partnership with the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA).

FOODEX Japan 2010 takes place March 2-5, 2010, in Tokyo. Participating producers will have the opportunity to build new relationships with Japanese importers or expand existing relationships. Japan is the third largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products, with more than $15 billion in exports in 2008. Virginia exported $234 million worth of products that same year, mostly tobacco products.

“While Japan is already an important trading partner with Virginia, we would like to expand our base to include new products,” said Todd P. Haymore, VDACS Commissioner. “Innovative and healthy foods are in great demand by Japanese importers and food service professionals. Japanese consumers are particularly interested in organic products, natural foods and prepared foods, and Virginia is well situated to provide those products.”

Best candidates for export to Japan include fruit juices, desserts, ready-to-eat meals, all natural or organic products, frozen fruits and vegetables, snack foods, seafood and foods that contain no genetically modified ingredients.

Information for participants:

• Event dates: March 2 – 5, 2010.

• Registration deadline: Nov. 13, 2009. No refunds will be given for cancellations after that date

• SUSTA will pay up to $1,000 in shipping costs per company from a designated U.S. consolidation point to the trade show site.

Cost for participants:

• Participation fee of $1,200 for one nine square meter booth or $1,500 for one nine square meter corner booth.

• Travel and accommodations are the responsibility of company.

• SUSTA will arrange one-on-one meetings with Japanese importers and will provide interpreters throughout the show

• Space is limited and will be allocated based upon receipt of the registration fee

Producers interested in taking advantage of this opportunity to introduce their products to key buyers in Japan should contact Keith Long in VDACS’ Office of International Marketing, call 804-371-8990 or e-mail keith.long@vdacs.virginia.gov.

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