Monday, March 31
Mr. Jarrett’s briefing gave us an on-the-ground overview of the business environment in Shanghai and throughout the country. Many of us are justifiably concerned about the number of jobs and investment dollars moving out of the U.S. to countries like China. However, foreign trade and investment is certainly not a one-way street. There are new and emerging opportunities for job creation in the U.S. – driven in large part by investment from overseas companies.
In 2001, the U.S. exported just over $19 billion in goods to China. In 2007, U.S. goods exported to China exceeded $65 billion, including $1.6 billion from Georgia. Growing financial wealth in emerging economies such as China and India is creating significant opportunities for U.S. businesses and our national and state economies – which is good news for Georgia.
Shanghai’s port is the busiest port in the world, and the rapid growth of the Georgia Ports Authority means increased export and import opportunities with nations throughout the world. Delta’s new direct flight between Atlanta and Shanghai means increased tourism throughout our state, and a higher profile for Georgia around the globe.
Our first stop today was a visit to CHINT Electrics Co, Ltd. The company’s impressive headquarters, research and development facility and manufacturing campus is located about 40 minutes south of Shanghai. CHINT manufactures components for electricity transmission in both residential and commercial settings. CHINT is also increasing its investments globally in the growing solar energy market.
Next, we travelled back to Shanghai for a luncheon with Mr. Chen Wusheng, Chairman and CEO of General Protecht Group Inc. General Protecht manufactures electrical components such as circuit breakers, wall sockets and dimmer switches. The luncheon was attended by members of General Protecht’s management team, executives from Delta and members of the International Chamber of Shanghai.
Chairman Chen was excited about his company’s recent decision to invest in Georgia. In May 2007, General Protecht announced that it is building a major assembly and distribution facility in Barnesville. This facility will create several hundred jobs and result in a $30 million investment for Lamar County.
During lunch we also heard from several members of the International Chamber of Shanghai who are very interested in doing business in Georgia, including real estate investors, silk manufacturers and restaurant entrepreneurs.
After lunch, we visited the General Electric China Technology Center. We learned about GE’s focus in China and neighboring markets from the Center’s General Manager, Mr. Xiangli Chen and his team.
The Georgia delegation then headed to the airport for a two hour flight to Beijing. Our plane landed at Beijing Capital International Airport’s new terminal, which was constructed in a record 4 years in preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games.