Gov. Nathan Deal will lead a high-level delegation of state of Georgia officials and business leaders to China and Japan Aug. 22-30. The mission will visit Shanghai, Qingdao and Jinan in the People's Republic of China as well as Tokyo. Delegates will meet with prominent members of government and corporate communities to explore business, trade and tourism opportunities.
"This trip marks a number of milestones for Georgia and emphasizes the state's commitment to continuing to build on these key relationships," Deal said. "It's an honor to lead this delegation, both to showcase what Georgia has to offer to an emerging market and to celebrate all Georgia has accomplished with a lasting partnership in another."
The Georgia delegation's itinerary includes targeted tourism and investment seminars in Shanghai. Deal will also announce the state's newest international investment representative arrangement. Building on Georgia's ties with Hisense and Haier, the state will leverage its representative presence in Qingdao to raise awareness of the state as a key location for investment from China. The location of this contract representative capitalizes on the state's previously established relationships with the city of Qingdao as well as the province of Shandong.
As the world's fastest-growing large economy, China represents a significant growth market for the state of Georgia. The country is the second-largest export destination for Georgia businesses, with more than $3.6 billion in exports annually Georgia leads the United States in exports of carpets, poultry, aircraft and wood products to China, while Chinese facilities operating in Georgia employ nearly 400 Georgians.
Deal and the delegation will end the mission in Tokyo to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Georgia's oldest economic development office on Aug. 29. Japan is a leading investor and trading nation for Georgia, and the state's economic development office there is responsible for creating more than 20,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in investment in the state. The celebration is an opportunity to thank existing investors and to introduce potential investors to Georgia's world-renowned hospitality.
The delegation reflects Georgia's diverse strengths in numerous industry sectors varying from agriculture to education, and transportation to tourism. Led by Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black, representatives of the Georgia Farm Bureau, Columbia Farms, Patten Seed Co., Russell Landscape Group and R.W. Griffin Feed, Seed & Fertilizer will market Georgia for Chinese agricultural opportunities, while University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Executive Vice Chancellor Steve Wrigley, along with Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Ron Jackson, will seek opportunities for academic collaborations.
Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Curtis Foltz and Ben Tarbutton, III, of Sandersville Railroad Co. will represent top Georgia logistics assets. In addition, the mission includes a large tourism contingent including Georgia World Congress Center Authority Executive Director Frank Poe; William Pate, President & CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau; Joe Marinelli, President of Visit Savannah; and senior officials of the Georgia Aquarium and InterContinental Hotels Group.
Delegates supporting all the state's industry sectors are Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Cummiskey, City of Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Dariya Farooqui, state Rep. Terry England, state Sen. Charlie Bethel, and senior executives from Aflac, the Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines, Georgia Power, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Johnson & Johnson and Troutman Sanders. Mrs. Deal will accompany the delegation as well as leading official visits to a number of educational and cultural institutions during the mission.
The group will also intersect with a separate, small-business trade mission to increase Georgia exports to China, led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development's International Trade division and funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration's State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) grant program. This group will visit Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Qingdao, meeting with prospective importers, distributors and key industry contacts and observing where retail products are sold. Participating Georgia companies are Bell Plantation, Tifton; Lamar Pecan, Hawkinsville; JRJ Brokerage Co., Albany; and American 3B Scientific, Tucker.