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State Leaders To Explore Business Opportunities With Asia Trip

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RALEIGH, N.C. — State leaders are preparing for a trip to Asia Friday designed to get more Asian companies to bring jobs to North Carolina and more business for North Carolina companies in Asia.

Commerce Secretary Jim Fain said China's 1.3 billion population provides amazing market potential.

"As China opens its markets, there are great opportunities for North Carolina companies to do business there, so one of the things we want to do is be in a position to help our companies find customers in that very vast market," he said.

Fain is leading a delegation of about 30 state, business, education and economic leaders to China and Japan.

"We'll be calling on businesses in China as well as government agencies in Japan," Fain said. "We're primarily call on companies, some of them companies we do business with now like AW North Carolina, that has about 1,000 jobs in Durham. Others will be prospects."

In May 2004, Fain visited 14 companies in Japan and South Korea, which resulted in 281 new jobs. He visited 18 companies in the same region in September 2004. That trip led to 421 new jobs.

Recruited companies may get tax breaks like the ones Dell received when it agreed to build a manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem, but those kind of tax breaks are under scrutiny.

The Dell lawsuit was recently settled. The Supreme Court is now waiting to hear a case over whether such tax credits violate the Constitution. Despite the outcome, Fain said he is not worried.

"[I] will not comment on these cases as we're involved in one directly, but I believe these are tools that have helped make North Carolina a good place to live by providing good jobs," he said.

The trip will cost the state $110,000. The delegation will host receptions at five locations in Japan and Asia. The price tag for the receptions is expected to be $77,000, which will be paid for with private money.


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