DB: Where are you?
HX: In Beijing, at our office and conference center where we meet with clients and have space for our attorneys who are working and traveling.
DB: What’s going on?
HX: I’m part of a delegation from Michigan that’s setting up a sister city agreement between Lansing and Hohhot, China (Inner Mongolia, northwest of Beijing). We executed a letter of intent in September, and if all goes well we’ll execute a final MOU this September.
DB: What’s driving the agreement?
HX: Michigan has the most productive dairy cows in the world, and we have a surplus of (dairy) products. China is in need of more dairy products. The area of Hohhot has two large dairy companies, Yili Group and Mengniu. Both of them are in the top 10 in the world for dairy production.
DB: Is there an end goal?
HX: If (everyone) does their part, the goal would be to set up a milk processing facility in the Lansing area. We’re working with the Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan State University, Inner Mongolia University, and Inner Mongolia Agriculture University.
DB: What’s next?
HX: A Chinese delegation will come to Lansing in the spring, and they may set up an office. By buying more Michigan dairy products, China will help reduce the trade imbalance. Michigan produces some of the best milk in the world, and our regulations are top-notch. Overall, things look very good going forward — but there’s still more work to be done.