Bui Ship Box in Dothan

Dothan, AL - Official Website

September 6, 2013 – 11:33

United States

23, 000 miles, 8 days, 7 Chinese cities and 34 meetings marked the beginning
of a new bridge between American South and China, as four US mayors from
diverse cities in North Carolina and Alabama completed a historical trip to
China from May 9th to 17th.

Their goal? -- a deeper understanding of Chinese interest in the US market
and to place their communities at the top of the list for consideration for North
American expansion.

“We hear the media's sensational is stories about China and they hear the
same about the U.S. And yet there is so much to gain for both and so many
ways we can work together, ” said Jill Swain, mayor of Huntersville, North
Carolina.

In seven cities -- Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Bazhong, Nanchong,
and Langzhong – the delegation found business leaders and government
officials eager for dialogue. “The reception we received was incredible, ” said
Mike Schmitz, mayor of Dothan, Alabama. “Each meeting was more than a
courtesy discussion. Businesses were curious about our communities and
anxious to introduce their businesses to us. Some are already in the process
of looking to locate in the United States. For my city, I wanted to learn as
much as I could about the needs of these companies and learn how we might
meet those needs.”

For one member of the delegation, Greg Norris, this was not his first trip to
China. “We have been in discussions with at least one manufacturer for most
of the past year. While I saw again the many opportunities for US
communities like ours, I think we are making progress on reaching an
agreement with at least one company to build in our community. For me, it
was another meeting with someone who has become a friend.” Norris is
chairman of the Monroe County, Alabama Commission. His community
hosted two Alabama China Partnership Symposium in 2012. The
negotiations in which Norris is engaged are the result of his community’s
initiative with those two events.

Perhaps ironically, the delegation’s first meeting in Asia was not with a
Chinese official, but an American one. Francisco Sánchez, Deputy Secretary
for Trade in the US Department of Commerce, kicked off the group’s
ambitious agenda. Sanchez emphasized the importance of the US-China
relationship, not just politically, but for the world economy. During a
presentation at Hong Kong’s Asia Society, Sanchez made reference to the
mayors’ efforts, calling the group’s visit both “significant” and “meaningful” in
its ability to attract foreign direct investment to the United States. Sánchez
offered his support for their efforts. Sánchez’s initial meeting with the mayors
went well, and continued during a second day of meetings while in Hong Kong.
The mayors also listened to China’s view of the world from high level Chinese
government representatives, including the former CEO of Hong Kong SAR,
Hon. C.H. Tung, and a number of Chinese mayors and other local leaders,
such as the deputy mayor of Nanjing Zeguang Zheng.

Source: www.dothan.org


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