[Blog] Why China is interested in Detroit

Governor Snyder meets with the Chinese press

By Dave Murray

August 25, 2015

This blog is part of a series of blogs that deputy press secretary Dave Murray is writing about Governor Snyder's investment mission to China.  Read the blog and follow the hashtag #InvestInMI to stay up to date on the Governor's investment mission.

Detroit is roughly 7,000 miles from China, but the continuing recovery of Michigan’s largest city was of interest to Chinese journalists meeting Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday.

The governor has been meeting with reporters throughout his fifth trade mission to China, first covering efforts to boost tourism in Michigan.

Monday’s roundtable was devoted to financial writers, and about a dozen were on hand to pepper the governor with questions about improving trade between Michigan and the world’s most populous nation on the other side of the globe.

Snyder said he could tell that Michigan was making great strides by the kinds of questions he’s been asked each year. When he made his first trade mission to China five years ago, reporters didn’t know where Michigan was.

“Then in later missions they asked, ‘What’s wrong with Detroit?’” Snyder said. “But now, they’re saying, ‘Tell us about the good things that are happening.’”

The journalists did their research, including questions of Michigan’s phase out of the personal property tax. Snyder spoke about how the reform made it easier for companies to make capital investments, helping them grow, thrive and create more and better jobs.

He also spoke about reducing limited-term tax incentives, saying businesses benefit better from efforts to build a talented workforce.

The governor noted he’s watched the Chinese approach to business change over the years, saying the country used to focus on exporting goods elsewhere, then turned to domestic sales as the country’s economy grew.

That opens the door for Michigan to boost the amount of goods it can sell in China, including fruit and vegetables grown in Michigan’s orchards and fields.

Jamie Clover Adams, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, arrived in Beijing on Monday to help tell the Michigan success story and tell how agriculture and food became a $100 billion industry in the state.