Prince George’s County sees grow­ing business with China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By HUA SHENGDUN in Wash­ing­ton

Prince George’s County in Maryland is court­ing com­merce with China.

County Ex­ec­u­tive Rush­ern L. Baker III held a re­cep­tion Thurs­day for a 27-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion that re­cently re­turned from a business mis­sion to China.

“It’s a frank con­ver­sa­tion about how we can do business in China, but also how Chi­nese in­vestors and busi­ness­men can come back to Prince George’s County and do work,” Baker told China Daily at the county ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing.

The re­cep­tion was held for the del­e­ga­tion’s trip to Beijing, Shang­hai and Xi­a­men in Septem­ber.

Zhuang Jian­grong, di­rec­tor of the for­eign af­fairs of­fice of Chang­ping Dis­trict in Beijing, at­tended the re­cep­tion. The county has signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for a for­mal sis­ter-city re­la­tion­ship with the Chang­ping Dis­trict of Beijing.

The county in­tro­duced for­eign in­vestors to Prince George’s de­vel­op­ment projects dur­ing its visit to the China In­ter­na­tional Fair for In­vest­ment and Trade (CIFIT) in Xi­a­men and later Shang­hai.

With more than 30,000 at­ten­dees, CIFIT is the largest in­vestor con­fer­ence in China. The del­e­ga­tion was seek­ing in­vest­ment for six projects across Prince George County with about $10 bil­lion in projects in the pipe­line.

The county’s projects in­clude a nat­u­ral gas-pow­ered, 859-megawatt elec­tric gen­er­at­ing sta­tion in Brandy­wine; the Belt­way Pur­ple Line 21 Sta­tion, which is part of a 16-mile, ligh­trail sys­tem from Bethesda to New Car­roll­ton; and the West­phalia Town Cen­ter mixed-use de­vel­op­ment off Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue.

“The mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion will be a bright ex­change be­tween Prince George’s County and China, for we can take the ini­tia­tive to en­gage business in China and wel­come them to seek op­por­tu­ni­ties here as well,” said Gwen McCall, pres­i­dent and CEO of Prince George’s County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion.

“China is a boom­ing econ­omy, and it is Prince George’s in­ten­tion to go global” and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for both sides, said McCall.

The trip “was a great op­por­tu­nity to talk about the joint ven­tures, ed­u­ca­tion and tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion”, Vic­tor Hoskins, Baker’s deputy chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, told China Daily.

Hoskins, who has vis­ited China seven times since 1995, had made sim­i­lar trips to China

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mu­tual co­op­er­a­tion will be a bright ex­change be­tween Prince George’s County and China, for we can take the ini­tia­tive to en­gage business in China and wel­come them to seek op­por­tu­ni­ties here as well.” GWEN MCCALL PRES­I­DENT AND CEO OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY ECO­NOMIC DE­VEL­OP­MENT COR­PO­RA­TION

as Wash­ing­ton Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s top eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cial be­fore he was re­cruited to join Baker’s team ear­lier this year. “It’s very pro­duc­tive for our busi­nesses,” he said.

County Ex­ec­u­tive Baker said ear­lier that he would bring some 50 to 70 Chi­nese com­pa­nies and high-level of­fi­cials to the area fol­low­ing the Septem­ber trip and ex­pects to gen­er­ate $250 mil­lion in in­vest­ment in county projects over the next two years, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

Prince George’s County has a pop­u­la­tion of almost 1 mil­lion, and its 500 square miles is larger than Wash­ing­ton’s, which has a pop­u­la­tion of 600,000 and cov­ers 60 square miles.

“We plan to visit China once ev­ery year,” Baker said. Another county del­e­ga­tion al­ready has planned a visit to China in May 2015.

Baker also has in­vited rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Chi­nese com­pa­nies to the Selec­tUSA In­vest­ment Sum­mit on March 23-24, 2015, at the Gay­lord Na­tional Re­sort and Con­ven­tion Cen­ter at Na­tional Har­bor.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama will speak at the sum­mit, which is be­ing or­ga­nized by the US Depart­ment of Com­merce.

“Since Pres­i­dent Obama started a new pol­icy for business visas this week at APEC (Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Coopo­er­a­tion), more US-China co­op­er­a­tion will be seen,” said Lisa Liu, pres­i­dent of the United States-China As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­merce and chair­woman of the Asian Business Coun­cil. Sheng Yang in Wash­ing­ton con­trib­uted to this story.

SHENG YANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Zhuang Jian­rong (cen­ter), di­rec­tor of For­eign Af­fairs Of­fice of Chang­ping Dis­trict, Beijing, vis­its Prince George’s County, Maryland on Thurs­day after sign­ing a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing for a for­mal sis­ter city re­la­tion­ship in Septem­ber.

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