Governor Beebe’s Trade Mission to China
The saying goes that only Nixon can go to China. So what brings Governor Beebe to the People’s Republic of China?
In one word: Trade. While states cannot create trade policies beyond enticing investors or making their opportunities known to outsiders, it is still important for states to create international awareness on what they have to offer. Arkansas is no different. New markets bring new opportunities which bring more success and wealth to people right here in the Natural State. In short, it is an opportunity that Governor Beebe could not turn down. Recently, Governer Beebe held a press conference on his upcoming trip to China:
Agriculture is one of the leading reasons for the trip, but not the only reason Governor Beebe is visiting China. “We hope that we can establish a dialogue that ends up being fruitful to create Chinese investment in Arkansas and create more jobs for Arkansans,” Beebe said. “We’re also very interested in increasing exports in existing Arkansas companies to China. Primarily that’s involved in the poultry business, but certainly we’re open to other exports above poultry.”
This is not the first international trip for Governor Beebe. He has previously visited Cuba for trade talks, and the General Assembly passed a resolution a year ago that “urges the President of the United States and the Arkansas Congressional delegation” to remove all trade barriers on Cuba. The sole reason for both of these actions was opening another market for the vast Arkansas agricultural sector, one of the largest aspects of the Arkansas economy. With billions of dollars in revenue made each year, and the poultry industry still smarting over European import bans, Governor Beebe is hoping to look for new markets in the Pacific, rather than the Caribbean.
Of course, Governor Beebe is not the only official in Arkansas to take note of growing trade between China and Arkansas. Dr. Guo-ou Zhuang of the Confucius Institute at the University of Central Arkansas has noticed the rise in trade between Arkansas and China.
Walmart currently has 300 stores in China, with plans to expand to well over 1000 in the near future. In the recent past, China became the largest importer of Arkansas goods, supplanting the traditional role of NAFTA states. With the European ban on Arkansas poultry not being lifted in the foreseeable future, China has become one of the main sources for Tyson chicken with twelve of every hundred exported chickens headed to the People’s Republic. For Dr. Zhuang and the staff at the Confucius Institute, it has never been a better time to create ties between Arkansas and what is arguably the most important trading nation on the world stage.
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