Local Politics

Perdue sets two-week trade mission to China, Japan

Posted September 2, 2009
Updated September 3, 2009

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— Gov. Beverly Perdue, Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco and a handful of executives from North Carolina will visit China and Japan in October in an effort to drum up business for the state, officials said Wednesday.

Perdue will be the second North Carolina governor to visit China in an official capacity, following a trail blazed by former Gov. Jim Hunt a decade ago. Her staff mistakenly said Wednesday morning that she would have been the first governor to go to China.

Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco Commerce official: Trip will build relationships

“Asian trade and investment represent significant growth opportunities for our state, especially in an economic downturn,” Perdue said in a statement.

China is North Carolina's second-largest trading partner, while Japan is the fourth largest. The two nations did $3.6 billion worth of business with North Carolina last year, officials said.

"We must build relationships. It's all about relationships," Crisco said. "It's all about meeting the people eyeball to eyeball and working with them on what they think is important."

Crisco said competition for trade with China is so intense that he urged Perdue to make it part of her first international trip as governor. The trade mission, which will include stops in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China, will target companies in the automotive and biotech industries, he said.

"Jobs are precious. Other states are aggressive. They're there all the time, and we would be noted for our absence big time," he said. "Relationships (with other states) would be built that we wouldn't be able to turn around. That would not be good for North Carolina."

More than 120 Japanese companies have operations in North Carolina, employing about 18,000. About a dozen Chinese companies have sites in the state, including computer maker Lenovo in Morrisville, with about 2,500 employees total.

About $82,000 in taxpayer money will be spent on the two-week trip, and officials have raised another $90,000 in private funds to help with expenses, officials said.

With the tight state budget, officials have gone over expenses line by line to ensure as little public money is spent on the trip as possible, Crisco said.

"We understand the economy," he said. "We understand things are not great, but the alternative of doing nothing and folding up our tents just doesn't make sense. We need to be cost-conscious, and we are cost-conscious."

The Oct. 14-27 trip is timed to coincide with 33rd annual joint meeting of the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association and the Southeast-Japan Association, organizations that promote commerce between the region and Japan.

North Carolina is the current U.S. host of the event, which returns to Tokyo this year after having met in Raleigh last October. More than 400 Japanese and southeastern U.S. leaders are expected to attend the event.

Agriculture Secretary Steve Troxler made a seven-day trip to China in early August and said the country could become a primary export market for North Carolina tobacco. The state is also looking to expand exports for soybeans, cotton, poultry and pork, he said, adding that North Carolina might open an agriculture office in China.


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  • GroupOfPricklyPears Sep 3, 2009

    This is encouraging news, imo. Glad to see the Governor going after global trade. WE NEED JOBS! Go get 'em, Gov!

  • MakoII Sep 3, 2009

    What BS. The Ag Com. Mr. Troxler is voted in independently from the Governor.

    It's HIS department, so HE should go to China if it concern his Department.

    The Gov going to China is a Vacation at our expense.

  • mrsmom Sep 3, 2009

    I thought state employees were banned from non-essential travel.

  • dragonslayer Sep 3, 2009

    I hope they keep her !

  • Milkman Sep 3, 2009

    Open and transparent government, right Bev? That is what you said you'd do. So who all is going on this trip other than you and the commerce secty? How many aides, how many spouses? Are you flying coach or first class? (Or at that price, over $180,000 total, chartering a plane?) Staying in 5 star accommodations, or just the Marriott?

    Have the courage to display this $180k travel budget today, and let us, the voters help you pick through it and save the state some money.

    I'm not against the trip, it might help the state. We need help to dig out from mess Bev and Mike created. But if the state is near broke, let's travel like we're near broke. Or get more private money (and make sure you tell us where that's coming from!)

  • Axtel Sep 2, 2009

    Foreign Holders of United States Treasury Securities-percent share....

  • Axtel Sep 2, 2009

    She is jumping on the China bandwagon. China owns the US more and more each day. Hope it brings us some good.

  • quebholder Sep 2, 2009

    I would think that with the expense of this trip, that she had better guarantee that it is going to drum up enough business to pay for it and give the state some "real" revenue

  • Buddy1 Sep 2, 2009

    "buddy...buddy...buddy 82K would be 8,200,000 pieces of paper..come on dude get real...that's enought to go to the next decade."

    Wow, each teacher gets 84 pieces of paper. That's enough to go to the next...day!

  • Fed-up29 Sep 2, 2009

    ok so we teach them to fish so they will not starve...then we should use the 82K for student scholorships to universities in NC....they should definately help the economy here.