The grant was awarded to ASMI through the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service’s Agricultural Trade Promotion program and designed to help ease adverse effects of tariff and non-tariff barriers on domestic agricultural exporters.
“The funds make a year-round marketing program in Southeast Asia a possibility,” ASMI officials said. ASMI previously promoted wild Alaska seafood in the region on a project only basis.
Grant funds will enhance existing programs for key markets in Japan, China, Europe and South America. The Southeast Asia program itself will focus on Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. The initial emphasis will be on building trade relationships and providing technical support and education across the food service, retail and reprocessing sectors.
AgriSource International Ltd., with offices in Bangkok and representatives throughout the region, was selected to serve as the overseas marketing representative for the program.
ASMI officials said the expansion into Southeast Asia was prompted by strong interest from the Alaska seafood industry.
“Southeast Asia has great potential for Alaska seafood because of the fewer import barriers than other emerging markets,” said Ron Risher, international sales manager for Icicle Seafoods. “The domestic markets in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have potential for growth in food service and e-commerce. Perhaps the greatest opportunity is in working with local seafood secondary processors for Alaska salmon and whitefish and providing quality handling education for distribution to restaurants and retailers,” he added.
ASMI is a public-private partnership of the state of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry whose aim is to foster economic development of this renewable natural resource.