(Nov. 28) California recently brought some star power to a country emerging as a world leader in trade.

Visits to supermarkets and appearances by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger were designed to promote California-grown agricultural products during a weeklong tour Nov. 13-19 of Hong Kong and other China cities.

The promotion was well received in part due to the governor’s mass appeal, said Scott Horsfall, chief executive officer of Buy California Marketing Agreement, Sacramento, Calif.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” he said. “It’s unlikely we’ll have a governor again with that kind of star power.”

A Nov. 19 California Grown Festival in Hong Kong sponsored by the Sacramento, Calif.-based Buy California Marketing Agreement wrapped up a week’s worth of promotional events.

The festival featured a speech from the governor, games, prizes and booths. Sunkist Growers Inc., Sherman Oaks, Calif., and California’s Table Grape Commission, Tree Fruit Agreement, Cherry Advisory Board, Raisin Marketing Board and Strawberry Commission sponsored the event.

The governor also made unannounced visits to two Hong Kong supermarkets before the festival to promote California-grown grapes, citrus, strawberries, plums and raisins.

The event was declared a success by Buy California’s chief executive officer Scott Horsfall.

“The fact that he made those two supermarket visits was huge because he went into the stores, sampled products, and that got picked up a lot in terms of media coverage over there and here, too,” he said.

Only citrus and grapes were featured in China during the promotions because of trade rules, Horsfall said. Hong Kong is more relaxed on imports from California.

Commodity boards received approval from Schwarzenegger to use his image on point-of-sale materials touting California produce.