By SEAN ELLIS
BOISE -- A Feb. 7 seminar on business opportunities in China is being called a "must-not-miss" opportunity by Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials.
Business, government and academic leaders will address the implications of China's upcoming leadership change and will discuss the country's diverse market and regulations.
Keynote speaker Manny Menendez told the Capital Press he will focus on Idaho agriculture and offer advice on how to succeed in China.
"There are big opportunities in agriculture," he said. "I will do a lot of homework about Idaho so I can focus (my talk) to industry segments that are established in Idaho."
Menendez has 34 years experience advising numerous companies in how to do business in China and completed the first U.S.-China equity joint venture for a major Fortune 100 Company -- Beatrice Foods -- in 1981.
ISDA officials worked on bringing Menendez to Idaho for more than a year, said Laura Johnson, who heads ISDA's market development division.
"Manny has a wealth of experience in the Chinese market," she said. "(The seminar) truly is a great opportunity to hear about what companies can anticipate in the future as a result of China's changing leadership environment."
A tremendous amount of market information about China can be found on the Internet, Johnson said, but this seminar goes to another level.
"This is a forum that is a higher-level opportunity to find out what trends are really taking place in the country and really get a sense of the future in China," she said.
Menendez said there will be significant opportunities for the U.S. beef industry in China once current restrictions are lifted, "there are a whole series of grains China is hungry for, the consumption of all sorts of fruits is enormous in China right now" and opportunities for the wine industry "are off the charts now."
"There are significant opportunities there ... for agriculture," he added. "There are some big trends that are happening in China. If you can understand them, you might get ahead of that and be quite successful."
Topics Menendez will cover include how to legally set up to do business in China and how to protect intellectual property. He will dedicate one and a half hours to questions from the audience and expects to focus on how to export to China.
"It's really more of a how-to-do seminar," he said. "I really get into the steps of how to do that, properly."
Menendez said many people mistakenly believe that export opportunities to China are only for larger companies.
"That's not true," he said. "Small and medium size entities can do very well in China. You just have to know what you're doing."
The conference costs $25 and will be held from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Boise Center.
To register online, visit www.chinaleadershiptransition.com, or for more information, contact Johnson at (208) 332-8533.