Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday welcomed Donald Tong, Commissioner of Hong Kong, to Alabama. In a meeting at the State Capitol, Governor Bentley, Commissioner Tong, and business leaders discussed Alabama's interest in attracting new investment in the state and the availability of skilled workers for new jobs in the state.
Hong Kong has been an important trading partner with Alabama for many years, and the business relationship between the state and Hong Kong continues to grow each year. In 2011, Alabama exported $261 million in goods and services to Hong Kong -- a ten percent increase over 2010.
"We expect those numbers to continue to grow, and we are very appreciative of the relationship we have with Hong Kong," Governor Bentley said. "I look forward to building on this relationship, and we are glad to have the Hong Kong delegation visit Alabama to see all the opportunities that this state has to offer."
Governor Bentley announced that Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield will travel to Hong Kong next week for further discussions with government and business leaders. Canfield will discuss how best to assist Alabama companies expanding globally through the Hong Kong gateway to Asia. Further, Alabama can work with Chinese companies seeking to invest in this state.
"We have already heard from companies that either attended or heard about the Alabama China Partnership Symposium held in Monroeville, Alabama, this past March," Secretary Canfield said. "They liked what they saw and what they heard. We will continue to work with them to help develop jobs for Alabama workers."
At a reception for Commissioner Tong held at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Tuesday evening, Governor Bentley presented a proclamation to Commissioner Tong declaring June 5, 2012, as "Hong Kong -- Alabama Day."
Hong Kong became part of the People's Republic of China in 1997 but retains its autonomy to govern itself until at least 2047. The United States is Hong Kong's second-largest trading partner in the world.