We are from the Government and we are here to help you.
In a previous posting, I complained about American access to the Taiwan market. But that is only half the story. What is the US government doing to promote the interests of American pet food companies in countries such as Taiwan where we have limited access?
The surprising answer is that our government is totally ignoring the situation and pretending as if it is business as usual. The US government is going so far as to use our taxpayer dollars to bring over buying delegations. Most recently, the Department of Commerce brought representatives of nine Taiwanese pet food distributors to the US to attend Global Pet Expo 2010 and visit some pet food manufacturers.
Rubbing salt in the wound.
First, most of our clients cannot sell to Taiwan due to the restrictions the Taiwanese government has put in place. Second, the US government refuses to negotiate away these barriers. And now, they use our money to bring 18 people from Taiwan who cannot purchase our products.
The US government does not limit their largess to Taiwanese companies. They also bring in companies from China and Mexico. To my knowledge, only one American-made food can be exported to China. My understanding is that the number of pet foods approved for export to Mexico is not much greater.
So our bureaucrats go about their business as if they are actually promoting our interests. We do not need to pay for buyers to come here. We need our government to negotiate away those barriers to fair trade. And if our bureaucrats cannot be proactive in promoting our interests, they could at least respond to our requests that they represent our interests. (And I have made this request frequently.)
And as frustrating as it is for us, it is just as frustrating for the overseas importers. At the Global Pet Expo, Taiwanese importers were frantically trying to find brands that are not now in Taiwan but that they could import. The demand is there but we do not have access to the market.
So again, I call upon the US government to forget the Dog and Pony Shows and actually negotiate away the barriers that we face in markets such as Taiwan, China, Mexico, Russia, etc. If we cannot have free access, we should at least have fair access to these markets. And if it takes restricting their access to our market, so be it.