Marketing Firm Needed For Washington Agriculture

This Request for Proposals (RFP) solicits proposals for contract services to assist with the marketing and promotional activities of Washington State food and agricultural exports in foreign markets.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is seeking proposals for In-Market Representatives in the following countries/regions:

· Canada

· China

· Japan

· Latin America

· Middle East

· Southeast Asia

· South Korea

· Taiwan

Background:

The WSDA International Marketing Program is responsible for promoting the export of food and agricultural products from Washington State. As part of an effort to promote successful export sales by Washington State companies and to increase the number of companies routinely exporting to the market, WSDA intends to retain the services of In-Market Representative Contractors who will be responsible for providing a wide range of services to facilitate trade and assist Washington food and agricultural companies with export market development in Canada, hereinafter referred to as “the market.”

In-Market Representatives from several countries will be part of the WSDA trade team that includes Washington-based trade specialists based in Olympia, Seattle, the Tri-Cities and Othello Washington. All partners work as an integrated team to identify small and medium sized export-ready Washington companies, to help those companies establish ongoing business relationships, and to successfully complete export transactions with foreign buyers. The WSDA trade team also works in collaboration with Partner Organizations. Washington State is one of the most productive and diverse agricultural regions in the world, producing over 300 different crops. Washington is also a top United States producer and exporter of numerous crops and value-added products, with over $6.7 billion exported in 2018. WSDA In-Market Representatives will work with a wide variety of food, beverage and agricultural businesses and organizations to expand export opportunities. Additional information on Washington’s food and agricultural exports is available at: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/business-and-marketingsupport/international/statistics

Scope of Work:

In-Market Representative Contractors will directly assist companies and Partner Organizations and will work collaboratively with WSDA’s Washington-based staff to increase short-term and long-term export sales to the Market. This will primarily include regular, ongoing work to find opportunities for and facilitate sales by Washington companies, assist companies in the completion of export transactions, promote Washington State products, and provide on-the-ground, problem-solving services to achieve WSDA’s export objectives. Additional project-based services may be requested during the course of the contract. Project work will be incorporated into the contract through amendments and paid separately on a per-project basis. 

In-Market Representatives will report to the WSDA International Marketing Program Manager and/or the WSDA Trade Specialist assigned to the market.

1.3A Core Services 

The following describes the primary work that WSDA anticipates to be performed by In-Market Representatives. As appropriate, some services must be performed on an on-going, proactive basis; other services will be in response to specific requests. Requests for services and assistance may come from WSDA, Washington companies, or WSDA partner organizations. The In-Market Representative will include WSDA on correspondence with companies and partner organizations.

Market Intelligence 

· Provide market intelligence, analysis and reports on local demand and market trends; key importers, distributors and distribution channels; consumer profiles; laws and regulations; international competitors in the market place; emerging opportunities for Washington products and other information that will help Washington companies penetrate and succeed in the market. Conduct due diligence to research opportunities for all products. When product is not a good fit, provide thorough feedback and explanation; continue to evaluate potential.

· Provide up-to-date information on tariffs and duties, customs regulations, import regulations and other government regulations concerning trade.

· In cooperation with staff, identify market potential for Washington state food and agricultural products and advise WSDA, interested companies, and partner organizations of such opportunities. 

Market Development

· Meet with key firms and government agencies in the market to introduce the strengths and capabilities of Washington State and inform them of the efforts and interests of WSDA.

· Aggressively market Washington State food and agricultural products, with an emphasis on newto-market products to buyers, distributors and importers.

· Identify key opportunities and develop strategies for Washington food and agricultural products to be successful in the market, making specific recommendations to WSDA on how to more effectively approach, develop and take advantage of these opportunities.

· Assist WSDA and partner organizations in drafting goals and strategic plans for efforts in the market. Export Transaction Services

· Introduce Washington companies to potential buyers in the marketing, distribution, transportation, retailing, foodservice, and ingredient sectors and help build successful working relationships. Follow-up to determine results and whether additional assistance is required.

· Search out and transmit to WSDA qualified trade leads and names of specific buyers, distributors and importers seeking potential Washington products.

· Assist Washington companies with their export transactions, including an understanding of phytosanitary requirements, quarantine and inspection procedures, customs clearance, documentation, labeling, pricing strategy, financing, shipping and other considerations related to the import of Washington food and agricultural products into the market.

· Assist individual Washington companies and representatives of partner organizations who visit the market by coordinating and accompanying them to meetings, assisting with language translation, transportation logistics, shipment of samples, and other in-country assistance as needed.

Trade Promotion & Advocacy 

· In order to promote Washington products and the state’s trade interests, establish and maintain regular contact and collaborative relationships with: – Relevant governmental agencies, trade offices, and other regulatory bodies involved in food and agriculture policy for the market; – U.S. government agencies, including the American Embassy and Consulates, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) or equivalents, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Foreign and Commercial Service; – In-market representatives of WSDA partner organizations and U.S. Market Access Program (MAP) Cooperators, including State Regional Trade Groups. 

· Work with local USDA Agricultural Trade Offices (or equivalents) to encourage the inclusion of Washington products for tastings and other promotional opportunities.

· Provide and prepare reports and presentations on the market as requested by WSDA.

· Respond to and assist with resolving market access or other trade issues that may arise in the market on an as-needed basis.

· Assist Washington companies exhibiting at or attending tradeshows by arranging for qualified buyers to visit their booths and/or setting-up buyer appointments for exhibitors/attendees; offer and arrange additional (pre/post-show) in-country assistance, meetings and tours as appropriate; follow-up with buyers after the show to gather information on products of interest, anticipated purchases, and other feedback for companies. 

· Share and translate WSDA-provided social media content on local social media channels. If creating content, WSDA must provide pre-approval.

· Work with WSDA to develop and produce promotional materials such as videos and brochures introducing targeted Washington products to the market. Materials should be produced in the local language. (WSDA will cover printing and other incidental expenses.)

Additional Core Services and Deliverables

· Maintain a database of importers, distributors, buyers, major companies and government agencies as potential clients and contacts for Washington companies, WSDA, and partner organizations. The database shall be made available to WSDA upon request.

· Travel to Washington annually for a scheduled week-long visit to conduct in-person consultations with Washington companies and partner organizations. Dates will be set each year in collaboration with WSDA staff and other In-Market Representatives. (Potential 2020 dates under consideration include August 10-14 or August 31-September 4.) Expectations for consultation preparation and follow-up will be provided by WSDA. 

Travel to Washington or to a WSDA-approved U.S. tradeshow at least once annually to bring buyer(s) for meetings with Washington companies. The schedule and itinerary will be coordinated in collaboration with WSDA staff. 

· Participate in monthly conference call with assigned WSDA Trade Specialist.

· Participate in monthly conference call with all WSDA staff and other In-Market Representatives.

· Maintain consistent contact information and availability for WSDA, companies, and partner organizations to contact via phone or email as-needed during the Contractor’s regular business hours. When unavailable or unable to respond in a timely manner, provide WSDA with advance notice and a primary point of contact during the absence.

· Submit Monthly Report that includes, at a minimum: activities completed and services provided the previous month; activities anticipated or planned the following month; updates on performance measures as provided in Section 1.3C; and updates on emerging opportunities, new regulations, and any other economic, political, or trade issues that may affect the export of Washington food and agricultural products to the market. 

· Work with assigned WSDA Trade Specialist to develop an updated annual marketing plan that includes, but may not be limited to: a summary of market conditions and opportunities; current market trends and areas of greatest opportunity; recommended events in which the Contractor, WSDA, Washington companies or partner organizations should participate; key business and governmental contacts and recommendations on who should make the contact(s) and timeframes for action; other information important for planning marketing activities during the next fiscal year.

Due Date:

April 13, 2020 

Address:

RFP Coordinator: Rianne Perry Phone (360) 902-1841 E-mail: rperry@agr.wa.gov Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) 1111 Washington St SE, PO Box 42560 Olympia WA 98504-2560

Agencies worth considering are MWWPR and Zeno Group.

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