Morrow, delegation promotes state in Ukraine
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow recently returned from the Eastern European Country of Ukraine. Morrow, along with Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks led the first American trade mission to participate in a food based trade show in Ukraine.
"We are building a relationship with the Ukraine as they move towards World Trade Organization ascension. This window of opportunity will provide Alabama companies the ability to look to the future and find the perfect fit in the Ukraine market," said Sparks.
The trade mission included three Alabama poultry related companies and the trade show component, sponsored by USDA and the Southern United States Trade Association, (SUSTA) showcased six Alabama food product companies and four additional Southern based food product companies. State Representatives Butch Taylor and Johnny Mack Marrow accompanied the delegation to promote industries from their districts; Garth Thorburn, the U.S embassy's Agricultural attach/ assisted the group during the trade mission. Commissioner Sparks and trade mission participants met with officials from the Ukraine Ministry of Agriculture, the Ukraine Poultry Union, importers and brokers.
Morrow said the delegation, who was the first such group to visit the Ukraine from the United States, hit on several points that are important to Franklin County.
"We had a booth set up and discussed Alabama products with different vendors and distributors there," Morrow said. "We talked to them about poultry, which is very important to Franklin County, and about the timber industry, which is also big for the county."
Morrow said the delegation's meetings could be important for the state, especially considering the fact that no other American groups have reached out to the Ukraine in such a way.
"We are opening markets all over the world and I think it was a very productive trip," Morrow said. "It was kind of like Lewis and Clark, we were blazing a trail.
"I think that will pay off for Alabama and Franklin County."
The 46 million people in this modern Eastern European country represent the benchmark for former Soviet block countries. Real gross domestic product growth reached about 7 percent in 2006-07, fueled by high global prices for steel – Ukraine's top export – and by strong domestic consumption, spurred by rising pensions and wages. The 1991 independence from a dissolved USSR provided the opportunity for privatization of industry and capitalistic businesses flourished. After Russia, the Ukrainian republic was far and away the most important economic component of the former Soviet Union. Today this Texas sized country is attempting to ascend into the World Trade Organization. Should ascension occur as predicted in July of 2008, American products, many of which could be Alabama products may find a very rewarding market.