Michigan governor to make third trip to China

Updated: 2013-08-30 11:39

By Michael Barris in New York (China Daily)

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In what is becoming a fall tradition for the chief executive of the Great Lakes State, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder will begin his third visit to China on Tuesday, Sept 3, to pitch the state's exports to a large, increasingly receptive market and encourage direct investment in a state still struggling from a severe economic downturn.

The 10-day trade mission will include stops in Shanghai, Beijing and Chongqing. Details about the itinerary and the US business executives who will be in the Michigan contingent were not available. Last October, for his second China visit, Snyder was joined by business leaders from 21 Michigan companies. The latest tour, which will end Sept 13, will include a stop in Japan.

Michigan's exports to China have soared nearly fourfold in the past eight years. Snyder, a first-term Democratic governor, is credited with strengthening the Michigan-China bond through his China outreach. Last year, China, the third-largest US export market, was also Michigan's third-largest export market, with $3.3 billion in export sales, up 21 percent from a 2011, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp, a public-private partnership that provides grants, loans and other economic assistance to businesses that make investments or create jobs in the state.

In May, Zhao Weiping, the Chinese consul general to Chicago, met Snyder in Lansing, the state capital.

Michigan's reputation as an engineering center due to its association with Detroit, the cradle of the US automotive industry, has raised its profile with China's leaders, who are looking for help with problems stemming from the country's rapid growth, according to Milan Stevanovich, executive director of the Detroit Chinese Business Association. The state economic development group says the industries where Michigan can help China include aerospace, automotive, chemical manufacturing, information technology, medical devices and healthcare.

According to the economic development group's website, the mission to China has space for representatives of up to 15 Michigan companies, each of whom must pay a $5,900 participation fee. Eligible companies can have up to 50 percent of their travel expenses reimbursed under a state grant, according to the website. Those joining the governor on the trade mission will have access to numerous services, including appointments with prospective partners, distributors and buyers, an assessment of the Chinese market, and travel logistics, ground transportation and interpreters, according to the website.

In 2012, US exports reached a record $110.6 billion, up 6.4 percent. China will be the world's second largest consumer market by 2015.


(China Daily USA 08/30/2013 page10)