EDASC Fosters New Connections for Skagit County in China

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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The China International Import Expo (CIIE) was held November 5-9 in Shanghai, an event bringing together more than 3,600 foreign businesses and exporters to meet with potential Chinese buyers and importers.  A high priority for the Chinese Government, this inaugural CIIE was opened by Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 5 at an event that also included Bill Gates and other world leaders and business executives.  Washington State participated in CIIE with the largest delegation from any U.S. state, with particular focus on the aerospace and agriculture sectors.  EDASC’s Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, Sean Connell, participated in the Washington State contingent to CIIE and met with Chinese local government officials and businesses looking to build connections.

EDASC’s goals as part of the Washington delegation to CIIE were to market and gain exposure in China for Skagit County, its businesses, and its products; to connect with entrepreneurs with potential interest in purchasing from or doing business with Skagit County businesses and farmers; and to meet with institutions and others with whom there could be good potential for mutually beneficial relationships. 

While in Shanghai, Connell met with seven Chinese local government and business delegations on the side of CIIE to introduce Skagit County and Washington State, and to explore economic areas of shared interest and offering potential opportunities for cooperation.  These included meetings with officials and businesses with the Shanghai Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC); Qingdao; Dongtai (Jiangsu Province); Zhumadian (Henan Province); Lianshui County (Jiangsu Province); Haiyan Economic Development Zone (Zhejiang County); and Zhuzhou China Power Valley (Hunan Province).  Agriculture and food processing were common themes in these meetings, and Chinese counterparts were interested to learn about Skagit County’s innovations and global role in value-added agriculture.  One city, Dongtai, hosts the largest undisturbed wetland on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean, and is an important stop for migratory birds, which offered an opportunity to present parallels with Skagit County’s significance as a stop for North American migratory waterfowl.

Additionally, Connell supported the “Choose Washington” booth at the CIIE and spoke with Chinese businesses and visitors about opportunities in Skagit County and Northwest Washington State.  The scope of CIIE was broad, including sectors ranging from advanced manufacturing and automobiles to information technology/artificial intelligence, consumer products, and food and beverages.  Washington State’s booth was located in one of the two food and beverage halls, and Washington State small businesses that participated in the show met with a steady stream of visitors and reported making good business leads and contacts there.

EDASC’s initial assessment is that CIIE offers a high-profile platform for Skagit County and other Northwest Washington businesses looking to enter the Chinese market or expand their business there, particularly in the value-added agriculture sector.  Over the coming weeks, EDASC will follow up on contacts made to further explore business and economic opportunities discussed there.  For more information, contact Sean Connell, Director of Business Development and Global Competitiveness, at sean@skagit.org.

Read South China Morning Post article on Washington State's delegation to CIIE

Category: Business Attraction, Business Retention and Expansion, international trade, China