Virginia’s newly minted governor, Terry McAuliffe, vowed to shipping representatives of the Hampton Roads port area that he will raise the state’s East Coast ranking in agriculture and forest products exports from fourth to first place by the end of his term.
Virginia’s agriculture and forest products exports reached $2.85 billion last year, up 8 percent over the previous record. McAuliffe told attendees at the Virginia Maritime Association’s Annual Maritime Banquet on Thursday evening that his administration aims to export more than $3 billion in agriculture and forest products by the end of this year.
“We’re making progress when it comes to agriculture,” the governor said.
Earlier this week, Chinese authorities rescinded a nearly seven-year import suspension of poultry from Virginia.
China ranked as the No. 1 market for Virginia's agricultural exports in 2013, with more than $580 million in purchases. The total value of Virginia poultry exports exceeded $186 million in 2013, with China absent as a major potential market for Virginia. McAuliffe said he expects the reopening of China’s market to Virginia poultry will generate more than $20 million in export sales each year.
Forest products are also a prime commodity for Virginia. McAuliffe on Thursday announced that International Paper plans to reopens a pulp processing facility in the Hampton Roads area, which will bring an additional 17,000 TEUs to the port annually.