Governors to shore up business ties

Updated: 2011-08-17 11:23

By Zhong Nan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - A delegation of United States governors will visit China in October to attend a dialogue with their Chinese counterparts as part of the two nations' efforts to promote ties at the local government level.

Xie Yuan, director of the department of American and oceanian affairs at the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said US governors are eager to talk with more Chinese provincial heads to try and bring Chinese business contracts and investment projects back to their individual states.

The visit comes after the first China-US Governors Forum in July in Salt Lake City. Four Chinese provinces, Zhejiang, Anhui, Yunnan and Qinghai, signed at least $3.2 billion worth of agreements on trade, clean energy, education, environmental protection and scientific cooperation with 24 US states during the forum.

"At least 10 US governors will come to China to talk with their Chinese counterparts from a number of provinces in October," Xie said. "Even though the US federal government has been keen to cut down the high domestic unemployment rates and boost its flagging economy, the overall result isn't very encouraging. Gaining Chinese trade orders and investment could help these US governors to win concrete political support and acknowledgement in their states," he said.

China is the largest export market for US goods outside North America. In 2010, US exports to China reached $118 billion, and many states are now more reliant on China to help support its economy, according to the latest report of US-China Business Council.

Two nations have been cooperating at the sub-national level for more than 10 years. In 2010 alone, there were eight governors and numerous other officials from US cities and towns that led trade delegations to China, the US State Department reported.

"Many Chinese provinces are also thirsty for US resources, technical support, energy efficiency technologyand high-tech and agricultural products," said Du Yingfen, a senior researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. "This could be a good opportunity for Chinese and US companies to link up."

Xie said his organization is working with the US National Governors Association on details of the dialogue.

Chinese local governments and US states have established numerous cooperative relationships, from 36 pairs of sister provinces and states, and 165 pairs of sister cities, to university exchanges, to partnerships on trade, energy and environmental protection.

"Chinese provinces and US states are economically complementary, and they are expected to enjoy high potential returns from sub-national exchanges," Xie said.

China Daily


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