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US exports chopsticks to China | Updated: 2011-08-05 14:30

The shortage of chopsticks in China has become so acute that a US company has begun exporting millions of pairs to the country, said an article on the website of The Telegraph on August 2, 2011.

According to the article, Georgia Chopsticks, based in the southern state of Georgia, is operating around the clock to meet the demand and hopes to be exporting 10 million pairs a day by the end of the year, each set complete with a label marked "Made in USA."

Amid a shortage of wood in China, said the article, the abundant poplar and sweet gum trees in Georgia were found to be ideal for chopsticks, producing straight, pliable and light colored implements.

Being sold in Chinese supermarkets, they cost less than a penny each to make. Jae Lee, a Korean-American who started the company, said "When I opened this business the reaction from my friends and family was 'Are you crazy? Making chopsticks here?' But we've shown you can make something happen."

The factory opened in Americus, a recession hit town with 12 per cent unemployment and 450 people applied for 60 jobs. Susan White, one of the workers, said: "I thought what everyone else things. Everywhere you see in America it says 'Made China' and you wonder if in China they ever see 'Made in America.'"

In China manufacturers produce 63 billion sets of chopsticks each year. But "the Pacific Rim, especially areas of China and Japan, they've run out of wood, but we have an abundance of it," said David Garriga of the Americus economic development council.

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