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Leaders eye trade opportunities (2)

By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

13:32, October 19, 2011

The governors of Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands will visit Beijing on a delegation led by Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.

"To grow jobs and economic growth - we know we have to reach out to our international business partners. That's who's buying our products right now," Gregoire said in a news release.

China is now the largest trading partner of Washington State. Washington's exports to China in 2010 reached $10.3 billion, up 442 percent over the last decade, according to a report from the US-China Business Council.

The governor led a delegation of 80 business and community leaders to China last September and she has seen great benefits from such trips.

"We have to be aggressive. With the amount of global competition - we can't sit back and wait for international prospects to come to us," she said.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, US state officials have been struggling with the sluggish economy and growing unemployment. As a result, trade ties with China have become increasingly important to the US economy.

China is the largest export market for US goods outside North America.

For instance, China is the second-largest export market of both Georgia and North Carolina, with total exports worth $1.8 billion in 2009. Their growth in exports to China was over 400 percent between 2000 and 2009, while it was only 51 percent and 14 percent respectively to the rest of the world.

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