Gov. Dave Heineman today signed an agreement to open Nebraska's first trade office in China. The Nebraska Center -- Shanghai, will be a vital element to the continuing development of Nebraska-China relations.
"Today we established our second overseas trade office in cooperation with the Shanghai Small to Medium Enterprises Center for International Cooperation," said Gov. Heineman. "This office will help Nebraska foster and further Nebraska-China relations in a variety of key areas including trade, economic development and education. We look forward to continuing this relationship as we continue to grow our presence in China and build even more mutually-beneficial relationships."
The agreement was made with the Shanghai Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) Center for International Cooperation. The SME Center is a large, Chinese quasi-governmental organization located in Shanghai with over 300,000 members involved with international trade and investment. The SME Center has been an economic development partner in China since signing a memorandum of understanding during Nebraska's first Reverse Trade Mission in 2008. Since that time, SME has introduced many Shanghai area companies to Nebraska to look at trade and investment opportunities.
The relationship between the State of Nebraska and the SME Center is already providing results. Since signing a memorandum of understanding that took effect during the first Reverse Trade Mission to Nebraska in 2008, Mr. Robert Cai, Director of the SME Center, has introduced many companies to Nebraska to look at trade and investment opportunities.
Mr. Cai brought officials from Qinqiang to the first Nebraska Reverse Trade Mission in 2008, and again to the second Nebraska Reverse Trade Mission in 2011. Under the leadership of Ms. Jingjing Lu, this agribusiness company chose to incorporate an American subsidiary corporation in Nebraska, citing Nebraska's business and family friendly climate as reasons for choosing Nebraska.
Ms. Lu's company is a subsidiary of New Hope, which is China's largest privately owned agricultural conglomerate and parent corporation to the publicly listed Sichuan New Hope Agribusiness Company.
Citing successes like Ms. Lu's company, Qinqiang, Gov. Heineman stated, "With a permanent trade office in China, we look forward to showing more companies that Nebraska is open for business."
Nebraska and China have benefited greatly from increased global commerce and bilateral trade. Over the last four years, Nebraska had 29 international investments from 12 countries. These investments totaled more than $4.17 billion, creating more than 1,400 jobs in Nebraska. China has been the second most active investor over the past three years with six new investments in Nebraska.
Noting the importance to Nebraska's economy from both Nebraska and foreign investors, this will be the second overseas trade office Gov. Heineman has established. In 2006, the Governor opened the Nebraska Center - Tokyo, which has been a key partner to the Department of Economic Development in recruiting Japanese companies and helping Nebraska companies do business in Japan.
Gov. Heineman is in China on the third leg of a trade mission that has also traveled to Beijing, and Xi'an.