CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- On April 4, 2003, in a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Commerce Deputy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, joined by Virginia Senator John Warner, issued an Export Trade Certificate of Review to the Virginia Apple Growers Association (VAGA). The issuance of the Certificate was the result of joint efforts by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, The GIC Group (GIC) of Alexandria, VA, an agribusiness advisory firm, and Commerce's Office of Export Trading Company Affairs.
The founding firms in the VAGA joint venture formed under the Export Trade Certificate of Review include Crown Orchard Company, LLP; Bowman Fruit Sales, L.L.C.; Flippin-Seaman, Inc.; and Fred L. Glaize, L.C. With this Certificate, VAGA and the participating firms have extensive antitrust protection for their export related activities.
Beginning full operation in August 2003, the VAGA export joint venture, under the export management expertise of GIC, generated export sales of $661,966 for the members during the seasonal selling period of November 2003 through March 2004. According to GIC, the joint venture has sold 49 containers of fresh apples to Cuba, Honduras, Costa Rica, Russia, and Sri Lanka. These countries represent export markets previously untapped by the Certificate members.
The joint venture formed under the auspices of the Export Trade Certificate of Review program has accelerated the Virginia apple industry's development efforts into foreign markets. By working together under an Export Trade Certificate of Review, participating apple producers pool their product to fill large export sales orders, present a united front in negotiations with foreign buyers on terms of sale, negotiate volume discounts with export service providers; share costs, and are not vulnerable to domestic antitrust complaints.
"The key to success in any new market is on-the-ground marketing and finding the right formula to build market share. …Patience and hard-nosed bargaining are critical. …The ETC will generate important revenues and employment for the apple sector in the state of Virginia," says Daniel Secondi, Managing Director, Virginia Apple Trading Company.
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