Gov. Bob McDonnell said Friday he expects to announce new Chinese business deals over the next few months, including deals stemming from memorandum of understanding agreements signed with agricultural and steel companies.
“I’m very confident…that we will have some very good announcements that we can make to the people of Virginia about the results of this trip,” McDonnell told reporters on a teleconference call from Beijing, where he is in the middle of an 11-day trade mission to Asia.
“I’m very optimistic about the opportunities to increase trade with China,” he said. “They like our pro-business policies. They like the fact we’ve got an office open [in Shanghai], and they’re especially appreciate of the fact that we have a major delegation here.”
Two of the business meetings included the signing of memorandums of understanding with a company planning to increase agricultural imports to Virginia and a Chinese steel company interested in investment opportunities in Virginia, McDonnell said.
McDonnell and members of his administration are on an 11-day trade mission to Asia that includes stops in Japan, China and Korea. They spent the earlier part of this week in Shanghai, where Virginia opened a trade office, and then went to Beijing. The trip includes Commerce and Trade Secretary Jim Cheng, Agriculture and Forestry Secretary Todd Haymore, and officials from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Virginia Tourism Corp., the Port of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
McDonnell says he Chinese business executives understand free markets, and many are realizing that it doesn’t always make sense to make their goods in China. In some cases, because of the exchange rate and transportation costs, it makes sense to manufacture Chinese goods in America, McDonnell says.
“China seems to have changed a policy of goods being made in China to goods being made by China abroad,” McDonnell said. “They want to be able to still have Chinese responsible for the business operations, but they realize it doesn’t always make sense to make them in China.”
Earlier this week, the Virginia delegation held a seminar on investing in Virginia. It attracted 180 Chinese companies, including technology, manufacturing, agricultural and port-related companies. The seminars included testimonies from Chinese companies that already do business in Virginia, including Mercury Paper and Evergreen.
McDonnell said the delegation has also had roundtable discussions with business prospects, met with companies currently doing business in Virginia and held events promoting Virginia tourism that serve Virginia wine. He said the delegation will announce Saturday a four-year collaborative agreement between the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to share major new art exhibits.
The delegation heads next to South Korea.