Members of some of China’s largest banks and one of the country’s top diplomats took center stage Thursday at the annual Maine International Trade Center conference, touting China as an increasingly important trade partner and Maine as a strong candidate for Chinese investment.
Zhang Qiyue, the Chinese Consul General in New York, reassured representatives from Maine’s export community that the middle class in China continues to expand and offer new markets for Maine-sourced products, particularly lobster. Lobster sales to China jumped from zero in 2007 to $21.4 million in 2014, making China the top destination for Maine lobster outside North America. Seafood was Maine’s leading export in 2014, with a value of $456.67 million, and lobster accounted for almost $366 million of those exports. Increasingly, the destination for Maine lobster is Asia.