Growing export ties help fuel business success

By Hezi Jiang in milwaukee | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-13 07:27

Growing export ties help fuel business success

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says the China-Wisconsin relationship is fantastic. [Photo/China Daily]

"Fantastic" and "growing" is how Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch describes the economic relationship between her state and China, which is its third-largest export destination behind Canada and Mexico.

The state exported $1.4 billion of goods to China in 2016, a 63.6 percent jump from 10 years ago, and a 345.5 percent increase from 2001, according to statistics from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC.

Some of the state's goods are very popular among Chinese consumers, especially ginseng. More than 90 percent of Wisconsin's ginseng is exported to the country.

During a 2015 trade mission, Kleefisch took some with her as a present.

Other agriculture goods such as wood, dairy products, animal feeds, oil seeds and fruits are also big exports. Manufactured goods including medical instruments and industrial machinery generate major revenue.

Kleefisch believes China's fast-growing middle class, coupled with Wisconsin and China's "shared dedication to manufacturing and agriculture", will keep tightening the bond.

Earlier this year, Wisconsin's economic development arm led a delegation representing five companies and organization on an eight-day trip to China. The result was fruitful, said Katy Sinnott, vice-president of international business development at WEDC.

A co-operative representing 40 cranberry growers is going to export their newly-branded dried fruit to China.

Wisconsin is the US leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country's crop. The little red berry is the official state fruit and its No 1 fruit crop.

An association of the freshwater research community is talking with the city of Nanjing to help build a 'sponge city project'.

A sponge city is designed to passively absorb, clean and use rainfall to reduce dangerous and polluted runoff.

For a third-generation local cheesemaker, China's growing appetite for dairy products has been creating a lot of opportunities.

There are half a dozen Chinese investments in Wiscons of about $600 million, creating 1,300 jobs.

"We also like to see more foreign direct investment," Kleefisch said.

The state is looking to grow six areas: manufacturing, energy power and control, food and beverage, water technology, bioscience and aerospace.

Kleefisch emphasized the importance of keeping a "healthy relationship" with China.

"It's always better to have two teammates pulling in the same direction," she said. "It's only going to further our bonds and economic ties.

"We see China as a customer and a friend in our supply chain for years and years and years to come," she added.

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