Arkansas lures Chi­nese cloth­ing plant

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chinadailyusa.com

A Chi­nese cloth­ing man­u­fac­turer plans to open a plant in the Arkansas state cap­i­tal that will even­tu­ally em­ploy 400, con­tin­u­ing the state’s suc­cess in lur­ing in­vest­ment from the main­land.

Suzhou Tianyuan Gar­ments Co, which makes cloth­ing for Adi­das, Ree­bok and Ar­mani, said ear­lier this month it will in­vest $20 mil­lion in the plant in Lit­tle Rock. The 400 work­ers will be paid an av­er­age of $14 an hour.

Mike Pre­ston, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Arkansas Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, said that Lit­tle Rock’s lo­ca­tion was a ma­jor fac­tor in se­cur­ing the plant.

“Lit­tle Rock was cho­sen due to its strate­gic lo­ca­tion that al­lows com­pa­nies to ship prod­ucts through­out the US and the world ef­fi­ciently. Lit­tle Rock pro­vides easy ac­cess to a ma­jor in­ter­state (In­ter­state 40) that con­nects the east and west coasts, ex­cel­lent rail in­fra­struc­ture and a port on the Arkansas River,” Pre­ston said in an email.

Tianyuan makes about 10 mil­lion ar­ti­cles of cloth­ing an­nu­ally and sup­plies 90 per­cent of Adi­das gar­ments. The com­pany hopes the Lit­tle Rock plant will be op­er­a­tional by the end of 2017.

In­cen­tives for the plant in­clude a $1 mil­lion in­fra­struc­ture as­sis­tance grant, $500,000 for train­ing and an es­ti­mated $1.6 mil­lion in re­bates based on the com­pany’s an­nual pay­roll. Tianyuan will also gain the state’s as­sis­tance in ob­tain­ing 20 work visas.

The Tianyuan in­vest­ment comes as Sun Pa­per, based in Shan­dong prov­ince, hopes to be­gin con­struc­tion in 2017 on its first fa­cil­ity in North Amer­ica in the city of Arkadel­phia which is lo­cated about 65 miles south­west of Lit­tle Rock. Com­pany and state of­fi­cials said they ex­pect the mill to em­ploy 250 di­rectly, about 2,000 dur­ing con­struc­tion and cre­ate an ad­di­tional 1,000 jobs in­di­rectly in the tim­ber in­dus­try.

“Arkansas Gover­nor Asa Hutchin­son and I have been very ag­gres­sive in seek­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment from China,” said Pre­ston. “Last week we com­pleted our sec­ond trip to China where we met with a va­ri­ety of com­pa­nies.”

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