Texas governor tours China

Updated: 2014-09-11 06:12

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington(China Daily USA)

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Texas governor tours China

Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli (right) shakes hands with Texas Governor Rick Perry of the United States during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday4. [Photo/Xinhua]

An alleged abuse of power charge has not deterred Texas Governor Rick Perry from promoting his state in China. Perry was leading an economic development delegation of state and business leaders in Beijing before attending the World Economic Forum in Tianjin that ends on Friday.

On Wednesday, Perry met with Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli. Zhang, one of the seven standing committee members of the Politburo, told Perry that he hopes Texas and China's local governments can enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, energy, medical treatment and high technology, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Perry said Texas values its ties with China and expects to achieve substantial cooperation with the country.

In Beijing, Perry also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between his state and Tianjin, Fujian, Shandong, Jiangsu and Sichuan, recognizing the importance of developing and expanding ties of cooperation through business, trade, investment, tourism, education, and research and development.

The MOU also acknowledges the importance of commercial, scientific and cultural connections to the respective economies of each entity.

According to the Texas Governor's Office, China was Texas' fourth-largest export destination in 2013, with $10.8 billion in exports, including industrial and electric machinery, chemicals, plastics and mineral fuel. In the same year, Texas imported $42.8 billion in Chinese goods, the second-highest total among Texas trading partners.

Perry, who is likely to join the 2016 Republican presidential race despite a failed attempt in 2012, also took an opportunity to woo Chinese investors.

"International companies are choosing Texas because we are at the heart of international trade in the US as the nation's leading exporter for 12 years, with China one of our top partners," Perry said in Beijing on Tuesday, where he spoke at an Invest in Texas forum and met officials from China's Ministry of Commerce.

"We encourage innovation and investment in the fields of the future, like biotechnology, aerospace, computer science and energy by creating an economic climate where businesses of any type and size can grow and thrive," he said.

Texas ranked No.2, trailing California, in attracting the number of Chinese investors from 2000 through the end of June, according to New York-based Rhodium Group, which tracks Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US.

In terms of money, the 77 Chinese FDI projects made in Texas during that period were mainly in energy, basic materials, finance and service, industrial and electronic equipment and IT.

Viking Tao, director of the Dallas-based law firm of Kane Russel Coleman & Logan PC, described Perry as pro-business and noted that he has done an excellent job for the state's job growth.

"China is already one of the state's top trading partners. With the launching of non-stop flights between Houston and Beijing last year and non-stop flights between Dallas and Shanghai and Hong Kong, we are seeing an increased interest from Chinese investors in a variety of industries, including energy, real estate, technology and manufacturing," said Tao, whose firm helps Chinese companies seeking to invest in the US.

Tao said that many Chinese companies coming to the US usually look at California and New York first because they hear about them, but now many have come to realize the benefits of investing and doing business in Texas.

"No state income tax, a pro-business legal, regulatory and business environment, and the low cost of living in the state are three key advantages attracting foreign and out-of-state businesses and individuals to Texas," Tao said.

Despite sometimes heated politics between China and the United States, US governors and city mayors have been more active in promoting business ties with China.

A US-China Business Council report released in May showed that China continues to be an important market for the economic health of American companies and farmers. And US exports to China have grown faster than exports to any other major US trading partner.

Texas' $10.4 billion in exports to China in 2013, a 118 percent increase from the previous year, put it third among the 50 states, trailing only California and Washington.

In August, Perry was accused of abuse of power after he asked a Democratic prosecutor to step down after she was arrested for drunken driving, and also threatened to veto funding for her office if she didn't. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The 64-year-old, who first took office in 2000, is currently the second longest serving US governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.