LANSING— Gov. Rick Snyder is back in Michigan after a 10-day trade mission visiting business and government leaders in five cities in China. The governor expressed confidence in the trip and that the country’s burgeoning economy could mean significant opportunities for Michigan businesses and, in time, more jobs for Michigan residents.
“In the globally interconnected world of today, China offers extraordinary opportunities for Michigan companies to grow,” Snyder said. “The 21 Michigan businesses that participated in the trade mission found potential new markets, distributorships and other business partnerships. The Chinese companies and government officials we met with are eager to seek greater cooperation with Michigan.”
Overall, Snyder met with top executives from 19 Chinese companies in meetings, business receptions and roundtables along with city and provincial officials in Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Guiyang and Chengdu. He also reopened the Michigan China Center office that had closed when the state sustained budget cuts in past years. The office space and staffing will be provided through a collaborative program of the Great Lakes Council of Governors, and will provide assistance to Michigan companies seeking export opportunities and facilitate when Chinese companies are looking to expand in Michigan. Additionally, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. signed economic cooperation agreements with the provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan during the mission.
During his final day in China, Snyder took part in the opening of the Western China International Fair in Chengdu, a city of 10 million people and the capital of Sichuan province, Michigan’s sister-state. The global economic development conference, now in its 13th year, reportedly saw signings of some 400 project deals worth $80 billion. The fair was established in 2000 to accelerate global economic integration within China.
According to the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China, Chengdu has become a top investment destination in China, making it a key stop on the governor’s investment mission. Dow Corning and Haworth Office Furniture have offices in the city, and 220 Fortune 500 companies maintain a presence within Sichuan province.
The 10-day mission covered nearly 18,000 miles, including 4,000 miles traveled within China. It was Snyder’s second investment mission to Asia since taking office in 2011. Last September, he led an eight-day trade mission in Asia, where he met with Japanese, Chinese and Korean government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan. Snyder also led a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany earlier this year where he met with senior level executives from a number of automotive and alternative energy companies, as well as government officials.