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Snyder leads Michigan trade mission to China

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

BEIJING - Gov. Rick Snyder is leading a Michigan trade mission to China today, meeting with government officials and business executives to strengthen relationships and attract new job-creating investments.

"We are pleased to be here, strengthening the existing relationships we have built up with Chinese companies and reaching out to other Chinese firms interested in doing business in Michigan," Snyder said. "We have been working diligently to improve Michigan's business climate and are here to open new doors for trade and business between our state and China."

In his first trip to China as governor, Snyder and his delegation of state, university and local officials as well as economic developers will be in Beijing today and in Shanghai on Thursday. They are meeting with senior government officials and executives of some of China's largest companies and a number of Michigan companies that operate there.

State business leaders and economists say the potential growth opportunities for Michigan are enormous:

- Michigan companies exported nearly $2.2 billion in goods and materials to China in 2010, up 63 percent from $1.3 billion in 2009.

- Transportation and auto-related equipment was the largest export item, at nearly $979 million in 2010. At least 50 Chinese auto-related companies have set up shop in metro Detroit, according to a Detroit Regional Chamber estimate, up from five a decade ago.

- Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States totaled $5 billion in 2010 and Michigan is one of the top 10 states for direct investment from China.

- Newsweek recently ranked Michigan No. 1 in the United States for job growth with manufacturing and tech jobs growing rapidly in recent months.

Following today's meetings, Governor Snyder will leave Beijing for Shanghai, where he will meet with a number of senior execs of Michigan-based auto companies and pitch Michigan to Chinese business people, before moving on to South Korea on Friday.

Snyder began his eight-day investment mission on Sunday in Tokyo, where he joined in the announcement of the formation of a new Michigan company, ECO Bio Plastics Midland Inc. The company will deploy Japanese recycling technology into a stronger composite material. The facility will be located in Midland.

He also met with executives from several other companies and addressed business and government leaders attending the 43rd annual Japan-Midwest United States conference.

Follow the governor and MEDC on twitter and Facebook for periodic updates on the Asia visits. Twitter accounts: @onetoughnerd and @MIAdvantage with the hash tag #MiAsiaBiz. Facebook accounts: Rick Snyder for Michigan and MIAdvantage.