Leading a delegation of more than 60 representatives of Missouri businesses and agricultural commodity groups, Gov. Jay Nixon today closed a $4.4 billion export agreement to sell more Missouri goods to China over the next three years.
The agreement, between the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, calls for these organizations to work together over the next three years to sell $4.4 billion of Missouri goods and products to Chinese consumers. Missouri currently exports $987.4 million a year to China, so this agreement increases those exports by more than $1 billion from 2012 to 2014, the three-year period covered by the agreement.
"From Day One, my administration has focused on creating jobs in Missouri, and increasing our exports to countries overseas is an important strategy for achieving that critical goal," Gov. Nixon said. "China is already Missouri's third-largest export market, and this agreement is another important step toward growing the state's economy. We will continue to focus on making Missouri more competitive in the global economy of the 21st Century."
The agreement includes a specific emphasis on agriculture exports to Chinese consumers. Numerous Missouri agriculture groups and businesses, including the Missouri Corn Growers Association, the Missouri Soybean Association, the Missouri Beef Industry Council, the Missouri Pork Association, Riceland Foods, Forrest Keeling Nursery and Hammons Products Co. are participating in the delegation.
"Missouri farmers, growers and producers feed, fuel and clothe the world," Gov. Nixon said. "This agreement recognizes the important role Missouri agriculture plays in our export growth, and it will open new doors for Missouri's agricultural businesses to sell their goods to China."
Increasing exports to create jobs was one of the eight objectives outlined by the Missouri Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, launched by Gov. Nixon in May 2010 and led by Director of Economic Development David Kerr. The strategic initiative included data and feedback provided by hundreds of business, education, labor and economic development leaders from across Missouri.
In addition to signing today's export agreement, Gov. Nixon met with His Excellency Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the People's Republic of China. The Vice Premier's portfolio includes oversight of China's international trade and financial services agencies.
Gov. Nixon also met a number of high-level Chinese government officials including: Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai; Vice Minister of Agriculture Niu Dun; Chairman Wan Jifei of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade; and Vice Chairman Yao Gang of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
The Governor also addressed the U.S. China Business Council and received a briefing from a Missouri company, Peabody Energy, on its operations in China. The day concluded with Gov. and Mrs. Nixon's visiting with His Excellency and Madam Zhou Wenzhong. Ambassador Zhou formerly represented the People's Republic of China in the United States, and Gov. and Mrs. Nixon have hosted him and Madam Zhou at the Governor's Mansion.
Tomorrow, Gov. Nixon will meet with U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke in Beijing and address the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing before traveling to Missouri's sister province, Hebei