Posted on December 26, 2013 at 5:33 PM by Iowa Corn
On Tuesday Dec. 17, our group was guided through the city of Hong Kong, by Joel Haggard with U.S.M.E.F. Joel explained to us that Hong Kong has gown to become the most densely populated city in the world and has the most expensive real estate to go with it. Hong Kong has a population of 7 million, covering 425 square miles of mountainous land divided between three different islands. That's roughly the same size as a typical county in Iowa.
Our first stop with Joel was at the U.S. Trade office to meet with Eric Kuss with the USDA. I think most of us were caught off guard by the amount of U.S. products traveling to Hong Kong, placing them as the 5 largest U.S. importer over the last four to five years. Hong Kong is considered to be #1 in the world for economic freedom, with no tariffs and very low taxes, except for liquor and cars. The meeting with Eric was really an eye opener with so much information a person could almost write a book on it.
Our second stop was at super market, it was much different than Sam's Club and the wet markets we have been to previously. The Great Foods location we went to was in the middle of a modern shopping mall. This chain is one of two that thrives in Hong Kong, selling some more typical products you might find in a U.S. grocery store. While also selling some more local style of products and catering to the extremely wealthy. We got a real kick out of seeing a bottle of scotch priced at about $38,000 U.S. dollars.
The third stop was at a restaurant named Steak Expert, where the group ate pork and beef from Russia, Great Britain, Brazil and the U.S. From the discussions around the table, I think it was fair to say we all preferred the US meat. US meat is sold as a high end product, due to our excellent feed, animal care and safety standards. Although, some of the cuts being sold are not as popular in the U.S., which is terrific, because it helps to add value to our products that aren't in high demand within the U.S.
Our fourth stop was a major shopping district. Everyone split into groups and went their own way. The talk on everybody's mind was how we had a great trip and learned a tremendous amount, but we are all ready to go home. The last 10 days have been a once and lifetime learning experience that is hard to explain without seeing it first hand.