Nebraska Strengthens Ties with China

ShanghaiA few months back, we updated the blog in light of a recent announcement made by Governor Dave Heineman: Nebraska’s strong ties with Japan have increased the demand for Japanese companies to open locations in our state (think Kawasaki, think Mitsubishi subsidiary Agrex Inc.) And this morning, the Omaha World-Herald announced that Nebraska’s ties with China have officially surpassed those of Japan, though still behind the number #1 and #2 positions held by Mexico and Canada.

According to Herald writer Steve Jordan, sales by Nebraska businesses to China are expected to double again by 2017, and they are at over half a billion dollars a year right now! (So far, the figure has doubled every three or four years in the recent past). Even more goods flow the opposite direction, making China the No.1 importer into Nebraska, pushing the two-way trade total past $2 billion a year, says Jordan.

The trick for Nebraskans is making sure the Chinese know where Nebraska is– most Nebraskans don’t know each province in China by heart, and the same goes for the Chinese relationships with individual states in the USA. To help familiarize them, scion Warren Buffett’s name is dropped fairly frequently. Thanks to policy changes in China, coupled with rapid economic growth, companies are able to expand into international business possibilities that they may have not been able to before– and Nebraskans want to make sure the opportunities here are at the top of the list when they do so.

Jordan reports that in addition, the University of Nebraska Medical Center has worked for years to develop partnerships in China, including the signing of agreements to help give support to visiting scholars and faculty members, and to advance physical therapy and nursing education in both countries. UNMC has also opened a satellite office in the free-trade zone in Shanghai to help commercialize UNMC innovations in China.

Nebraska itself is setting up shop—opening its first trade office in China, the Nebraska Center-Shanghai. These cross-cultural developments should help both Chinese and Nebraskans establish relationships and make connections for the future. Joe Chapuran, international manager for the State Department of Economic Development, says “Now they know somebody, they have a friend, when it comes to investing in the U.S.”

The Nebraska Center-China also aims to familiarize Chinese businesses with the type of industries available for investment in Nebraska, from golf courses to plastics to other development companies located here. The center also offers an international transition team’s sources that help companies looking to set up operations in Nebraska, as well as make foreign investments– the team can help with human resources, logistics, tax concerns, and more. In short, it has never been easier for Nebraskans and Chinese people to work together in development.

Keep an eye on Obama’s trip to China today and tomorrow, and let us know if you have any questions or comments. Visit the Nebraska Center China to learn more about how you can become involved!

photo credit: Goldmund100 via photopin cc