For nearly a century, The Bassett Furniture Company was the center of life in the town of Bassett, Virginia, just as its wealthy namesake family was the foundation of the town’s prosperity.

But that all changed in the 1980s when cheaper Chinese products began flooding the American furniture market, threatening the Bassett family legacy and the livelihoods of hundreds of Virginians. / Millennium Challenge Coporation

An Idaho engineer is on a federal trade mission in Africa right now, promoting U.S. companies and helping to bring electricity to people in Malawi and Tanzania. Hailey-based Power Engineers consults in a variety of engineering fields, including energy generation and delivery. Chris Garvin works out of the company's Meridian office, but he spoke to KBSX from Malawi this week. He says he’s no rookie when it comes to working in Africa.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will lead a group of Idaho-based business leaders on a weeklong trade mission to Peru and Mexico next week.

The trip includes businesses ranging from producers of milk and potatoes to makers of boat docks and skin care products. The companies are aiming to increase exports to Central and South America.

The business leaders will also attend receptions with U.S. Ambassador to Peru Brian A. Nichols next Tuesday and U.S. Ambassador E. Anthony Wayne to Mexico next Thursday.

Micron, circuit boards
Micron Technology

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is getting ready for a nine-day trade mission in Russia.

The Republican governor, his staff and Idaho business leaders will leave Boise Friday.

The trip caps a busy year of international travel for Otter, who has already made official visits to Vietnam, Taiwan and Korea.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

South Korean diplomats from their Embassy in Washington, D.C. visited the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise Wednesday.  They honored Korean War veterans while in the Northwest to promote a free trade agreement between the U.S and Korea. 

Sixty years ago, U.S. servicemen and women battled communist Chinese and North Koreans in what’s been called the Forgotten War. The war is not officially over, but a somewhat stable peace has existed in the Korean peninsula since the nation was divided in the 1950s. 


Wednesday marks World Trade Day in Idaho.  Companies throughout the state sold nearly $6 billion worth of exports last year.   That’s about 10% of everything Idaho produces.  As part of the day’s events, Boise State hosts a top U.S. trade negotiator.  Ambassador Isi Siddiqui will highlight international trade and American jobs.   

Trade Mission To China Showcases Unexpected Idaho Businesses

Apr 17, 2012
Moxie Java

The most recent trade mission to China organized by the state Department of Commerce and headlined by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is underway this week.

Computer and electronic products make up the lion’s share of Idaho’s exports to China, but that sector isn’t represented in the lineup of 15 Idaho companies working to explore and strengthen trade ties.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Environmental groups are mobilizing against proposals to export coal through Northwest terminals. That coal would be mined in the Rockies and travel by train across Idaho to Oregon and Washington ports to be shipped to Asia.   Protesters rallied in Oregon’s capital Monday. They're asking Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to block permits for several coal terminals.

Critics say the coal-laden trains would spew dust and block traffic. And environmental groups oppose the use of coal as an energy source regardless of where and how it's shipped.