Mary­land gover­nor leads mission to China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

A to­tal of more than 40 events and meet­ings have been sched­uled for Ho­gan’s three-na­tion tour.

“The mission will strengthen ties and in­crease trade and in­vest­ment with one of the world’s fastest grow­ing eco­nomic re­gions,” the gover­nor’s agenda says. “In ad­di­tion, the mission will pro­mote Mary­land as the gate­way to the US mar­ket for com­pa­nies from Korea, China and Ja­pan, and po­si­tion Mary­land com­pa­nies for new trade and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in for­eign mar­kets.”

The del­e­ga­tion in­cludes more than 30 peo­ple from the state gov­ern­ment, busi­nesses and the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land.

Ho­gan’s wife, Yumi, who was born in South Korea and is a fre­quent host­ess of events for Asian Amer­i­cans in Mary­land, is also along on the trip.

Nathaniel Ahrens, direc­tor of China Af­fairs at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, said the uni­ver­sity has a long his­tory of col­lab­o­ra­tion with China, from wel­com­ing its first Chi­nese stu­dent in 1915, to host­ing the fa­mous Ping-Pong Diplo­macy matches in 1972, to es­tab­lish­ing the first Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in North Amer­ica, now the old­est in the world.

“We hope this trip will pro­vide ma­te­ri­als for yet an­other ex­cit­ing chap­ter in the re­la­tion­ship,” said Ahrens, who will join Gover­nor Ho­gan for the China leg of the trip.

China is the third-largest ex­port mar­ket for Mary­land, trail­ing only Canada and Saudi Ara­bia, with $714 mil­lion worth of Mary­land goods — mainly cop­per, pa­per prod­ucts and alu­minum — ex­ported to China in 2014.

Mean­while, China ex­ported $3.1 bil­lion worth of goods to Mary­land, mak­ing it the sec­ond-largest im­porter for Mary­land, be­hind Ger­many. Top Chi­nese ex­ports in­clude fur­ni­ture, tele­phony prod­ucts and toys.

In to­tal, more than 50 Mary­land­based com­pa­nies, such as Per­due Farms, Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional, and Un­der Ar­mour, have made footholds in China, ac­cord­ing to the DBED.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the DBED showed that th­ese com­pa­nies’ op­er­a­tions in China have been es­tab­lished to serve the Asian mar­ket, rather than as a plat­form from which to sim­ply ex­port back to the US, an ex­pla­na­tion clearly de­signed to counter do­mes­tic Mary­land was home to 28 Chi­ne­se­owned com­pa­nies. Half of th­ese com­pa­nies en­tered the state with Green­field projects and their ac­tiv­i­ties are fo­cused on Mary­land’s key in­no­va­tion sec­tors, in­clud­ing biotech­nol­ogy, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and ad­vanced en­ergy tech­nol­ogy, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the strong re­search net­work at the state’s uni­ver­si­ties and the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health (NIH).

The DBED op­er­ates the Mary­land Cen­ter China. Founded in 1996 and based in Shang­hai with 25 full-time and part-time em­ploy­ees, the cen­ter is re­garded as the old­est and among the largest and strong­est of any of the 50 US states’ China of­fices.

Mary­land has a 35-year-old “sis­ter” re­la­tion­ship with East China’s An­hui prov­ince and its city of Bal­ti­more also boasts a 30-year tie with Xi­a­men, a coastal city in East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince.

There are 69,381 Chi­nese Amer­i­cans living in Mary­land, which has a to­tal pop­u­la­tion of 5.9 mil­lion. Chi­nese Amer­i­cans con­sti­tute the sec­ond-largest eth­nic Asian con­stituency in the state, be­hind only In­dian Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to the 2010 US Cen­sus and 2013 Amer­i­can Com­mu­nity Sur­vey.

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