Gov. Rick Snyder began his trade mission in China today by participating in the grand opening of the Michigan China Center, which will promote trade, tourism and cultural exchanges between Michigan and China.
"Opening this office in Shanghai is an important step in cultivating and expanding partnerships and business opportunities between Michigan and China," Snyder said. "Having a permanent presence through the Michigan China Center will expand Michigan's engagement in the Chinese market and sends a strong signal about our commitment to increasing exports of Michigan-made products to China and attracting new investments to Michigan."
The Michigan China Center provides a physical presence for Michigan with office space and staffing provided through a collaborative program of the Great Lakes Council of Governors. The office will serve several purposes for the state and Michigan businesses: attracting foreign direct investment, export trade development, education initiatives and tourism opportunities between Michigan and China.
Snyder also spoke at the Michigan Investment Attraction Seminar held at the Shanghai Auto Museum. During the event, Michigan Economic Development Corp. Senior Vice President for Business and Community Development Doug Smith signed a memorandum of understanding between the state of Michigan and Shanghai International Auto City to maintain an ongoing dialogue and relationship focused on identifying opportunities of mutual benefit. The agreement also encourages the developing relationship between The Henry Ford and Shanghai Auto Museum, including a loan agreement that would bring selected automotive artifacts from the collection of The Henry Ford for presentation in Shanghai Auto Museum, as well as displays within Shanghai Auto Museum promoting "Pure Michigan."
Additional agreements were reached, including the University of Michigan and China FAW Group Corp. signing a Strategic Framework and Master Research Agreement to enter into a five-year research relationship. It will provide opportunities for increased educational engagement at the university and increased FAW Group operations in the state of Michigan.
Ann Arbor-based OG Technologies and the Nanjing Iron & Steel Co., a major steel producer in China, also entered into a contract for a state-of-the-art rolled steel bar inspection system designed to detect surface defects in high-temperature steel production. It will be used to improve the quality of steel wire rods used in critical, high-end applications such as bearings, springs, tire cords, and fasteners in the automotive industry. The HotEye RSB system was developed by OGT with support from the state of Michigan and U.S. government.
Shanghai is the first point of entry into China for many major foreign commercial enterprises, and has several connections to Michigan. More than 40 Michigan companies have registered in the Shanghai American Chamber of Commerce, and Shanghai Auto Industry Corp., a joint venture partner with General Motors, is headquartered in Shanghai, with its North American headquarters located in Birmingham, Mich.
This is Snyder's second investment mission to Asia since taking office in 2011. Last September, he led an eight-day trade mission in Asia, where he met with Japanese, Chinese and Korean government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan. Snyder also led a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany earlier this year where he met with senior level executives from a number of automotive and alternative energy companies, as well as government officials.