Today we begin our travels to China. With nearly 1.3 billion people, China is the world's most populous country. In the last quarter century, China has seen unprecendented economic growth. That growth has brought about major changes in China -- both good and bad -- and creates important new opportunities for Wisconsin businesses. For example, Wisconsin ginseng has become increasingly popular in China. As China's economy grows, they will be able to buy more of our ginseng, which will help create jobs for Wisconsin's workers. The goal of this mission is to help build personal relationships between businesspeople in China and Wisconsin -- relationships that may ultimately lead to new opportunities for us to sell more of our products to the Chinese.
I also hope that this will be an opportunity for schoolchildren in Wisconsin to learn more about China and its people. In the coming days, I'll be sending back pictures, audio clips and sharing my experiences with you. I hope you'll visit this "Governor's Blog" frequently to keep track of our progress.
MADISON and BEIJING - As Governor Doyle departed today for China with a delegation of Wisconsin business leaders - the largest trade mission in Wisconsin history - he invited Wisconsin schoolchildren to keep track of the mission on his online "blog." The Governor’s blog will allow students to view pictures, hear the Governor in his own words, and read his account of his stops in four Chinese cities as he works to open new markets for Wisconsin’s exports.
"The purpose of our trip is to create new opportunities for Wisconsin businesses that may lead to new high-wage export jobs in our state," Governor Doyle said. "But this also gives us a chance for Wisconsin to learn more about China. I invite Wisconsin’s schoolchildren and others to follow along and learn about the world’s most populous country."
We arrived in China this evening at about 9 p.m. local time. Beijing is 14 hours ahead of Wisconsin, so that's 7 a.m. back home. Including layovers in Detroit and Tokyo, it took about 24 hours of travel time to reach our final destination.
Just in the 40 minutes it took to drive from the airport to the hotel, we caught a glimpse of how rapidly China is changing and developing. Virtually every building we saw seemed to have been built or renovated in the past five or ten years. Construction cranes fill the skyline.
Along the way, we saw a few familiar names -- McDonalds, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, and numerous life size posters of NBA star Yao Ming. Our hosts have been very gracious, and their hospitality is much appreciated.
We have busy days ahead of us, but already I feel optimistic about the trip. Wisconsin has a great sales pitch to make to the Chinese, and I believe strong relationships will help us create more high-paying jobs in our state. I'm looking forward to making that sales pitch.
It was our first full day in China. After a briefing in the morning about our trip, protocol, and logistics, we had the opportunity to see a little bit of Beijing. Beijing is a fascinating place, where ancient history intersects with modern progress. From within the walls of the "Forbidden City" where Emperors once ruled, we could see construction cranes and hear the hustle and bustle of a modern and expanding metropolis. I continue to be amazed by the tremendous economic growth here in China. When I first came here in the 1980's, the buildings were stark, concrete structures and the city was dark. Today, new buildings are everywhere, streets and highways are lit up, neon signs and bright advertisements are everywhere. Today we were joined by Wisconsin businesspeople, who are just as eager as I am to take advantage of the incredible opportunities China holds for the state of Wisconsin.
Today began in the shadow of one of the world's wonders: the Great Wall of China. I had the honor of planting a tree in the "Friendship Forest" in Badaling, an interpretive park sponsored by the U.S.-China Environmental Fund (USCEF), a non-profit organization headquartered in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. USCEF works to strengthen stewardship and conservation of China's natural and cultural resources by building partnerships between the United States and China. The organization is also helping to support a Panda reserve in China. We also met with Mr. Deng Pufang, president of the China Disabled Persons Federation. He spoke passionately about the needs of China's disabled community, particularly of the vision-impaired. We often take it for granted that buildings are handicapped-accessible and that text is available in Braille. Unfortunately, China has not made the same advances on behalf of disabled people. Mr. Deng is working to give disabled persons in China greater access to buildings, and more economic opportunity. Interestingly, Mr. Deng is the son of the late Deng Xiaoping, who held many of the top leadership positions in the Chinese government until his death in 1997. This evening, the delegation went to the QuanJuDe Roast Duck Restaurant, famous for their Peking Duck. We had many delicious dishes over the course of the evening, as well as some exotic ones. Tomorrow (Monday), when businesses open their offices for the week, the Wisconsin companies on the mission will begin meeting with businesspeople in China to find export opportunities.
Today was a great day in Beijing. We started with a briefing by the U.S. Embassy staff and the U.S. Commercial Service, who informed our Wisconsin businesspeople about the challenges and opportunities presented by trade with China. They gave valuable advice about how businesses can find a market for their products in China, and what pitfalls they may want to look out for. Later, I met with officials from the Chinese Agricultural Ministry, along with Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Rod Nilsestuen, Senator Bob Jauch, and Dr. Richard Klemme from the University of Wisconsin. China is a country with 1.3 billion mouths to feed, and less available farmland than the United States. While they are trying to upgrade their agricultural industry, they still need to import much of their food. As China's population continues to grow, so will their need for imported food from Wisconsin farmers. After the agriculture meeting, I had lunch with Li Wei, Vice Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. The purpose of our meeting was to help open doors in China for Wisconsin companies such as CUNA Mutual who attended the lunch. We also had the opportunity to tour a facility run by Wisconsin-based GE Medical, which helps the company export more Wisconsin goods to China and throughout Asia. The day concluded with a reception I hosted with U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt, Jr. I appreciated that the Ambassador agreed to attend the event this evening, which helped our Wisconsin companies to make contacts and build relationships with Chinese businesspeople who attended the event.
Our day started at 7:30 a.m. today with a briefing from the US-China Business Council, an organization that helps U.S. companies to succeed in China. We learned many helpful tips about doing business in China. Following the briefing I had the chance to meet with China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce. We had a frank conversation, and I expressed my concerns about environmental issues as well as the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs. I took the opportunity to introduce the Vice-Minister to an executive from a Wisconsin environmental technology company that can help China reduce its pollution problems. In 2008, Beijing will host the Olympic Games. Not only are the games an important cultural, diplomatic, and athletic event, but they are also an economic opportunity. China is investing billions of dollars to prepare Beijing and construct the facilities for the Games. I met with the Vice-Mayor of Beijing who is also the Executive Vice-President of the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee. The meeting should help to make contacts for Wisconsin companies interested in selling goods and services to prepare Beijing for the Olympics. Our host here in China is the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). I had lunch with their Chairman and invited him to visit Wisconsin in the future as China looks to buy U.S. products. CCPIT leaders will be visiting Wisconsin in April. Our guide on this trip told us that Beijing now has over 2 million private cars. On the way to the airport this afternoon, our bus hit one of those cars. Fortunately, nobody was injured. We made our flight to Shanghai on time, but just barely. We arrived at Shanghai late this evening and after conducting a press conference with reporters back in Wisconsin, I’m ready to turn in for the night.
Today we began to see more of Shanghai as we traveled to our various meetings. I have never seen so much housing in such a small area. As we drove around, we saw apartment high-rise after high-rise. They were enormous. In about a quarter mile, I think I saw enough housing for the entire population of Milwaukee. And no wonder – with a population of more than 20 million, the city of Shanghai alone has almost four times as many people as the entire state of Wisconsin. With so many people, one of the problems cities like Beijing and Shanghai are having is traffic. I mentioned yesterday that our bus collided with one of Beijing’s 2 million cars. In Shanghai, they have 1.6 million cars – and that number is growing by about 14 percent every year. One Wisconsin company has technology that can help Shanghai and other cities in China cope with this tremendous traffic problem. TrafficCast is a Madison company with about 35 employees, but they will soon be expanding. As part of our trade mission, today they signed agreements with Shanghai to help the city implement a new system. It will use computer programs to keep track of traffic in Shanghai so the city can better manage the traffic flow. And it will allow individuals to get detailed information about traffic – including traffic predictions -- on their cell phone, on the web, on PDAs, on the radio and on television. As China continues to develop and modernize its infrastructure, there will be many more opportunities like this one for Wisconsin companies to help – and in doing so, to create jobs in our state. At the GE China technology center in Shanghai, I learned about the advanced products they were marketing in China. They import plastic and other components from the United States to create finished goods locally. For example, GE Medical is selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment in China and one executive estimated that 75 percent of the components were manufactured in Wisconsin. On the tour of the GE facility, I met Dr. Bo Hu, who received her Ph.D. from the UW-Madison. She told me that she selected our university because it had “the best chemical engineering program in the world.” We had a nice laugh swapping State Street stories and took a picture that I will send to her when I return. I also met with the Shanghai Municipal Economic Relations and Trade Office and sat down with several mayors and economic development officials who came to Shanghai for the opening of our new Wisconsin Trade Office. Our trade office in Shanghai is shared with several other Great Lakes states, and is run by a Wisconsin native. While Paul Swenson comes from Hudson, he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and has become an expert on U.S. China trade. Wisconsin companies will be able to get in touch with him and take advantage of his invaluable experience. The most famous tourist attraction in Shanghai is the Bund, which is the waterfront district dotted with historic buildings and shopping. I remember it being beautiful at night when I was here in the 1980’s. I had hoped to visit it tonight, but after a long day I am turning in early and will have to try to swing by it sometime tomorrow.
SHANGHAI - On day four of Governor Doyle’s trade mission to China, TrafficCast, a Madison based technology and software company, signed two major agreements with the City of Shanghai that will result in new investments worth tens of millions of dollars and will create dozens of new jobs in Wisconsin.
"This deal shows the tremendous potential for innovative Wisconsin companies to play a role as China is rapidly upgrading and modernizing its infrastructure," Governor Doyle said. "This is a major coup for Wisconsin, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. China is growing at a pace and a scale that is unparalleled in history, and that means serious opportunities for Wisconsin companies to create new jobs."
"TrafficCast is honored to play a part in helping Shanghai manage its growth and development as a modern city," said Connie Li, Chief Operating Officer of TrafficCast. "We are pleased that this investment will help us to create high-paying jobs in Wisconsin."
TrafficCast, which has 35 employees in Madison but will need to expand its operations to more than 60 employees to complete the contract, produces real time and predictive traffic databases and software. The company helps municipal governments manage traffic flows, and helps individual drivers to find the most direct route to their destination while avoiding traffic congestion. Their largest clients include Yahoo!, AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular, and the U.S. Department of Defense, which relies on TrafficCast to help them move convoys and personnel around the country as efficiently as possible.
Li signed two Memorandums of Understanding late Wednesday with the City of Shanghai to build a prototype system to provide traffic information on websites, cell phones, PDAs, radio and television in Shanghai. The city of 20 million people has 1.6 million cars - a number that is growing at 14 percent annually.
The MOU will mean a joint investment worth tens of millions of dollars to bring the system online in Shanghai. It will require the company to expand its Madison operations, and will also result in numerous subcontracting opportunities for other Wisconsin firms.
Li said that signing the agreement as part of a delegation led by a state Governor helps give the company added status and credibility in China. She also said it would help the company as it seeks similar agreements with Beijing, Guangzhou, and Tianjin, which along with Shanghai are the four largest cities in China. Earlier this week, Wisconsin Commerce Secretary Cory Nettles joined TrafficCast in talks with Beijing officials over a potential agreement with that city.
The Signing Ceremony was witnessed by Governor Doyle and Jiang Miankang, Director of the Shanghai City Development Research and Information Center and son of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
I spent my day in the city of Shanghai, which may be the most European feeling of all the cities in China. We've been impressed by the dozens of modern skyscrapers, any of which would be a landmark building in a U.S. city. After a brief stroll along the Shanghai waterfront, known as the Bund, I met with the Mayor of Shanghai, Han Zhen. Running a city with an exploding population the size of Wisconsin and Illinois combined, Mayor Han has a tough job. We learned, for example, that one of the massive housing developments we saw yesterday lacks schools or shopping centers necessary to support the local population. Interestingly, Chinese Mayors are more important than Chinese Governors who run much smaller operations. Mayor Han is viewed as a rising star in China, and many Shanghai Mayors have gone on to prominent positions in the Central Government. I had lunch with the Xuhui District Government and dined with Sun Chao, the Chief Magistrate of Xuhui District. Sun Chao is also an up and comer in the Chinese hierarchy. Xuhui is one of the more prominent districts of Shanghai with a population of 1 million. The role of the Chief Magistrate is similar to a County Executive in Wisconsin. Lunch was followed by a detailed meeting with the Shanghai Agricultural Commission before our delegation headed off to the Charity Dinner at the Paramount Ballroom. The Charity Dinner lent prestige to the Pudong Charity Hospital from both the high level guests and the selection of a beautiful venue like the Paramount Ballroom. We hope that this will assist the Hospital in continuing to raise money in Shanghai. More importantly, though, the dinner generated over $20,000 for the Hospital, as well as a GE X-ray machine and 28 waterheaters presented from A.O. Smith. The hospital serves over 170,000 people living in poverty. In a country where most hospitals lack a single X-ray machine - and where patients had been bathing in cold water - the generosity of our Wisconsin companies, our trade delegation, and the Chinese guests who attended the dinner will go a long way toward improving health care for some of Shanghai's poorest residents. We hope that it will also showcase some of the fine products Wisconsin has to offer. We leave for Nanjing tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.
SHANGHAI – Governor Doyle and members of the Wisconsin Trade Mission to China participated in a dinner Thursday benefiting a major charity hospital in Shanghai that provides services to 170,000 impoverished Chinese citizens. The delegation donated more than $20,000 to support the critical mission of the hospital.
"Not only will these gifts help people in Shanghai get access to lifesaving health care, but they will build goodwill toward our state," Governor Doyle said. "They will also showcase the high-tech medical equipment made by Wisconsin companies."
The hospital lacks adequate medical equipment to provide treatment to all those who need it. To help address this shortage, GE Medical donated an X-ray machine. A.O. Smith also donated 28 hot water heaters, and installed them for the hospital. Previously, patients in the hospital had to bathe in cold water.
Governor Doyle thanked the Wisconsin Children’s Hospital, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, CUNA Mutual, State Senator Bob Jauch, and many Wisconsin companies who made generous contributions to the effort.
"We recognize that trade depends on a strong relationship between China and Wisconsin," Governor Doyle said. "The friendships that we are building here will become the basis for greater understanding, and ultimately, greater trade between us. If we do this right, we can create jobs in both China and Wisconsin, raise wages, and raise living standards for the benefit of all our people."
The event was attended by Shanghai Vice Mayor Yang Xiaodu and U.S. Consul General Douglas G. Spelman. It was heavily attended by local media in Shanghai.
Today the Wisconsin delegation made the journey to Nanjing. While we flew from Beijing to Shanghai, we took two buses to Nanjing. Known as the Southern Capital, the city has occupied an important economic position along the Yangzi River and an important political position as a rival capital to Beijing. After leaving the very modern Shanghai, we saw a more balanced view of China along the road to Nanjing. From farms to factories pouring out black smoke and modern construction equipment next to bamboo scaffolding, we saw a diverse slice of the Chinese development. The first meeting in Nanjing was a Wisconsin-Jiangsu Business Seminar hosted by the Jiangsu provincial government to introduce Wisconsin businesses to local government and business leaders. At most of the meetings we’ve had, small pots of tea are placed in front of each person. This meeting was no different. You sometimes see people in China lightly tapping two fingers on the table as tea is poured for them. This is a custom dating to imperial times. The emperor, wanting to walk among his people anonymously to find out what they were thinking, decided to trade places with his servant. The servant dressed as a wealthy landowner, while the emperor pretended to be a servant. When the emperor poured tea for his servant, the servant was deeply embarrassed by being waited on by the emperor. Since bowing to his master would reveal the emperor’s identity, the servant lightly tapped his fingers to show respect for the emperor. Today, it is still considered a polite sign of respect to tap two fingers on the table as someone pours tea for you. After the business seminar, Secretary Gassman, Senator Jauch, and I visited the Nanjing Foreign Language School, which prepares 12 to 18 year olds for future careers as translators and diplomats. The students spoke excellent English and displayed incredible knowledge of the United States. Our conversation covered Abraham Lincoln’s career as a lawyer, NASA’s space program, the fight against terrorism, Yao Ming, my basketball career, the 2004 presidential election, and the great speeches in American history. The students asked great questions, and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation together. Robert Kennedy once said that young people are “the only true international community,” because young people all over the world have an unique ability to bring people together and forge a better understanding between nations. I firmly believe that these students can learn from us in America, just as we can learn from them, and that both countries will be better off from the exchange.
NANJING - During a conference call home to Wisconsin reporters this morning, Governor Doyle announced that two Wisconsin companies have reached agreements with Chinese officials to begin providing services to China.
The Center for International Health (CIH), a Milwaukee based consortium dedicated to improving public health worldwide, has signed an agreement to provide training and technical assistance to the City of Shanghai to upgrade their emergency medical response.
"The health care expertise we have in Wisconsin will help to save lives in Shanghai, while creating a greater demand in China for medical equipment and services created by Wisconsin companies," said Governor Doyle, who was present at the Signing Ceremony along with CIH President Mark Anderson, former Shanghai Vice Mayor Madame Xie Lujuan, and Shanghai Public Health Director General Dr. Liu Jun.
The agreement outlines steps to improve EMS care in Shanghai, including development of a pilot EMS program, collection of baseline data, and training of key Shanghai healthcare professionals at Wisconsin coalition member facilities, such as the Medical College of Wisconsin. The City of Shanghai has a population of approximately 17 million, yet only a limited number of emergency response vehicles.
The CUNA Mutual Group, which has its international headquarters in Wisconsin, has also recently signed agreements to start up a new operation to provide financial services to China’s credit cooperatives. The company will expand its business operations to the Chinese credit cooperative industry, which has more than 200 million customers, and expects to begin offering its products in China later this year.
"This major business opportunity will benefit the company and its 2,600 employees in Wisconsin, creating more jobs over the long term and generating additional revenue that will help build the company’s financial strength," Governor Doyle said.
Earlier this week, the Governor announced that TrafficCast, a Madison-based technology and software company, signed two agreements with the City of Shanghai that will result in new investments worth tens of millions of dollars and create dozens of new jobs in Wisconsin.
TrafficCast will be providing an unique software and database system that will help Shanghai, with 20 million people and 1.6 million cars, manage traffic flow by providing traffic information on websites, cell phones, PDAs, radio, and television. The agreement means TrafficCast will expand its operations in Wisconsin, growing from 35 employees in Madison to more than 60.
"Many other companies in our delegation may not be ready to sign agreements yet, but they are making inroads into a market with a vast, untapped potential," Governor Doyle said. "In China, direct contacts and personal relationships are critical to doing business, and I hope the friendships we’re building will ultimately lead to further business deals that will create jobs for Wisconsin businesses."
For the past week, I have been leading a trade mission of Wisconsin companies to China, Wisconsin’s fastest growing market for exports. It is also the fastest growing major economy in the world, with construction cranes everywhere and cities that seem to stretch on forever.
Our delegation is the largest in Wisconsin history - 84 delegates representing 46 Wisconsin companies, the University of Wisconsin, various trade associations and non-profit groups, and key state economic development leaders. The tremendous participation by Wisconsin businesses in this trade mission is a reflection of the limitless potential China holds to help grow the Wisconsin economy.
In Wisconsin, so many of the products we buy are marked "Made in China." The goal of this trade mission is to help spread the "Made in Wisconsin" label more and more in China. Last year alone, Wisconsin’s exports to China increased by more than 50 percent, and those increased exports help to create good, high-paying jobs in our state.
Already, the mission has been a success. I had the honor of presiding over a signing ceremony between TrafficCast and the City of Shanghai that will help TrafficCast nearly double the number of jobs at its operation in Madison.
TrafficCast is an example of how China’s rapid development holds opportunities to create Wisconsin jobs. Shanghai, like other major cities in China, is facing enormous traffic problems. In fact, our group got a firsthand view of these problems when our bus slammed into one of the 1.6 million cars crowded onto Shanghai’s roads.
TrafficCast will be providing an unique software and database system that will help Shanghai manage the traffic flow, and will even help individual motorists avoid traffic jams by giving the latest updates and traffic predictions on the web, radio, TV, cell phones, and PDAs. As a result of the deal signed during our trade mission, TrafficCast will create jobs both in China and Wisconsin - helping the company grow from 35 employees in Madison to more than 60.
CUNA Mutual, which has its international headquarters in Wisconsin, is starting up a new operation to provide services to China’s credit cooperatives, which are similar to the U.S. credit unions that CUNA serves. CUNA will be playing an important role in supporting rural development in China, while opening up a major business opportunity that will benefit the company and its 2,600 employees in Wisconsin.
The Center for International Health, a Milwaukee based consortium dedicated to improving public health worldwide, also signed an important agreement during our trip. They will be providing training and technical assistance to the City of Shanghai to upgrade their emergency medical response. The health care expertise we have in Wisconsin will help to save lives in Shanghai, while creating a greater demand in China for medical equipment and services created by Wisconsin companies.
The list goes on. Many companies may not be ready to sign agreements yet, but they are making inroads into a market with a vast, untapped potential. In China, direct contacts and personal relationships are critical to doing business, and I hope the friendships we’re building will ultimately lead to further business deals that will create jobs for Wisconsin families.
I have serious concerns about the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China. In Wisconsin, we’ve been hit particularly hard. I have raised these concerns with Chinese officials, as well as concerns over labor standards and the environment. It is clear to me that China is feeling pressure from the United States, and I have been given repeated assurances that China is committed to increasing imports from the U.S. to correct the trade imbalance. The U.S. government must continue to press China to keep their word, and we in Wisconsin should work equally hard to make sure that our state gets a major share of that increased trade.
China’s dramatic growth has also come at the expense of the environment. I have seen dense smog and blighted industrial zones in every city I have visited. China is now realizing that it must do more to protect the air, land, and water. Here again, I see opportunities to help both China and Wisconsin. Our state knows how to protect the environment while sustaining growth, and we have developed innovative environmental technologies. If we can sell our expertise, technology, and environmental services to China, we can raise living standards in both countries, and create more high-paying jobs in Wisconsin.
When I visited China in 1981, it was a sleeping giant. Today, the giant has awakened. We cannot afford the luxury of putting our heads in the sand and ignoring China, and all of the challenges and opportunities it represents. If we do this right, growing trade between China and Wisconsin will mean a brighter, more prosperous future for all our citizens.
Let us meet the challenge, and seize the opportunity.
The day began in the workout room. I’ve made it a point to exercise every day while I’ve been here, because I think it’s important to keep the habit up even when you’re travelling. I find I feel better and have more energy throughout the day when I work out, and given the fast pace of our schedule, it’s even more important to start the day right. We took the opportunity to visit the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-Sen, who is revered throughout China as a great pioneer of democratic revolution. It was built between 1926 and 1929, and includes a long, steep staircase leading up to the tomb of Sun Yat-Sen. We only had about 40 minutes to see the site before we had to get on the bus and go to our next meeting, so by the time we climbed to the top and snapped a few pictures, it was time to go back down. It was really an amazing site, and I’m glad we all got the chance to visit there. Afterward we traveled to meet with officials from the Nanjing city government. Nanjing is less than one third the size of Beijing or Shanghai – but with more than 5 million residents, it is roughly the same population as the entire state of Wisconsin. I met with Vice Mayor Xu Huiling, a very warm and impressive woman. Her daughter is a college student in the United States, and wants to pursue a doctorate degree. I encouraged her to consider the University of Wisconsin. After our meeting, members of our business delegation stayed to meet with Chinese businesspeople in hopes of starting relationships that might lead to business deals. Later I met with Mr. Lou Zhijun, whose title is Party Secretary of Nanjing. Being Party Secretary makes him the highest ranking official in the city of Nanjing, even higher than Mayor or Vice-Mayor. He was an engaging, dynamic person, and expressed great interest in cooperation with Wisconsin, particularly with the University of Wisconsin. It is a Chinese custom that when you have guests, you host a dinner or lunch for them. It is considered an essential part of forging friendships and business relationships. Traditional Chinese meals are served in many courses. You learn quickly that you should only eat a small amount of each dish, because there may be as many as two dozen courses. Today the city of Nanjing hosted our delegation for lunch, and it was quite a meal. The menu included sauteed beef spareribs, curried shrimp, braised black mushrooms, deer spareribs, vegetables, deep fried cod, stewed turtle’s round, and even spring pigeon soup. Members of the business delegation were seated at tables in between Chinese business and government officials, so it was a good chance to get to know one another. After lunch, the Vice Mayor and I toured some businesses, including a processing plant for Hsu’s Ginseng. Paul Hsu is a Wisconsin businessman who grows ginseng in our state that is considered to be a very high quality product in China – even better than Chinese ginseng. Mr. Hsu exports his ginseng to China, and then processes it in this plant for sale to Chinese consumers. Wisconsin is a major exporter of ginseng to the Chinese, which helps create jobs in our state. This evening, we’re going to the Fuzimaiao Historic Nanjing District for dinner, and hopefully get a little shopping in before we leave tomorrow. Checkout time from the hotel – 5:30 a.m.
Today was our first full day in Hong Kong, and the schedule was packed. We began with a briefing by officials with the U.S. Consulate about doing business in Hong Kong. From there, we went to a series of meetings with Hong Kong government officials, ranging from Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary to the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury to the Secretary of Commerce. Our hosts were very gracious, and were eager to learn about Wisconsin. I also sat down with a reporter from the Hong Kong Economic Times, the most influential English language business publication in the city. I used the opportunity to promote Harley-Davidson and other great Wisconsin companies who are working to increase their exports to China, and Hong Kong in particular. We have become very aware of one of the serious problems facing China, which is especially severe in Hong Kong – pollution. There is a haze over the city that makes it very difficult to see what is otherwise a beautiful skyline. Many of the delegation members have said that they didn’t feel well – not because of illness, but because of the dense smog here. As Hong Kong and the rest of China come to grips with the pollution problem, we hope that they will look toward Wisconsin for environmental solutions. This evening, at a reception hosted by the American Consulate in Hong Kong, I met a young man from Wisconsin who is serving our country as a U.S. Marine. Sgt. Wayka James is part of a unit assigned to guard the U.S. Consulate. His family is of the Menominee Tribe, and live in Keshena. He is proud to be serving his country, and we are equally proud of him. As our mission nears its end, I have reflected on what we have observed, learned, and accomplished. I see a country that is growing and changing at an incredible pace. The question isn’t whether or not we have a relationship with China, but what that relationship will be. We cannot afford the luxury of putting our heads in the sand and ignoring China and all of the challenges and opportunities it represents. We have to meet those challenges, and seize those opportunities. I am confident this mission is moving us toward that goal.
HONG KONG – On day nine of his trade mission to China, Governor Doyle cut the ribbon on Harley-Davidson’s first general merchandise boutique in Hong Kong. The Governor and Harley-Davidson officials said Sunday the opening signified the reemergence of Harley-Davidson in Asia after several difficult years brought on by the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. “Harley is a great Wisconsin company that has grown to become an American icon – one that is recognized the world over,” Governor Doyle said. “I am pleased to be in Hong Kong to celebrate Harley extending its reach to more and more customers worldwide.” “By buying Harley-Davidson merchandise, people can share a little bit of the Harley-Davidson experience,” said Steve Wasser, Sales Director for Harley-Davidson’s Asia Region. “I appreciate Governor Doyle being here as he works to promote Wisconsin exports throughout greater China.” The general merchandise boutique is located in Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre in Kowloon, Hong Kong. It will sell Harley-Davidson MotorClothes and memorabilia ranging from tee-shirts and ties to $1,000 leather suits. Harley’s merchandizing helps to market the company’s products not only to motorcycle enthusiasts, but also to those who may not otherwise have considered buying a motorcycle. The Governor also participated in a five-year anniversary celebration for the Techno Harley-Davidson Dealership in Hong Kong. Harley-Davidson sales have been growing at about 15 percent a year for the past several years following the Asian financial crisis.
In a few hours, I’ll board a plane and begin the journey back to Wisconsin. Before I do, I thought I would offer a few final thoughts about our mission here. China is an incredibly complex country, with many contradictions. It has a growing number of citizens who live in incredible wealth, and hundreds of millions more who still live in debilitating poverty. It has breathtaking natural beauty, and staggering pollution. It presents us with both challenges and opportunities. The question we now face is how Wisconsin can prosper in a world in which China will be a large, growing economic force. It has become clear to me during this mission that it is absolutely crucial that we focus on our basic strengths – excellence in education, a clean environment, and a high quality of life. We should have confidence that our future will be very bright if we stay true to who we are and make smart investments in our future. A few years ago, there was a very real fear that Japan would begin to overtake the U.S., out-competing, out-producing our businesses. There was a fear that a united Europe would pose a similar threat. But our country, and Wisconsin in particular, has always found a way to adapt and maintain our competitiveness and prosperity. I believe that education is the key to doing that. From agriculture to financial services to groundbreaking medical research to environmental technologies, there are opportunites here for Wisconsin if we are prepared to seize them. Finally, one of the remarkable things in China was not only the incredible new buildings we saw, or the country's rapid rate of growth, but the quality of the leaders I met. I was pleased, in a very short period of time, to develop some very good personal relationships with them. A number of these people grew up during the “Cultural Revolution,” which was a very dark period in China’s history in the late 60’s and early 70’s when the most educated leaders –- from poets to professors to politicians -- were persecuted. I met various officials in China -- people who are about my age and in leadership positions -– who had gone through horrific experiences during this time period. Some were removed from their families as teenagers, sent to the countryside for hard labor, and denied an education from the time they were 15 or 16 to the time they were 22 years old. And yet, they went on to become highly educated –- many of them studying in the United States –- and are preparing to lead China into the future. Their suffering during the "Cultural Revolution" had a profound effect on them. They spoke passionately about the need for transparency and openness in government, and most importantly, about the need for the rule of law. The history of China has had many ups and downs. Change often comes much more slowly and painfully than we would like, and China has a long, hard journey ahead of it. In the short term, we will have to deal with some very serious issues, from democracy to labor standards to the environment to the loss of manufacturing jobs. But I believe that in the long run, these leaders are going to insist that there be universal education, that the environment be cleaned up, that the standard of living be improved, and that the government be more open and democratic. Those reforms, when they come, will be good for not only China, but for Wisconsin, and ultimately, for all the world. I hope that this blog has been educational for Wisconsin school children and others who followed the progress of our delegation. This will be my final entry. But our efforts to better understand and address the challenges and opportunities presented by China must –- and will -- continue. Wisconsin has a rich history of its own –- a history of innovation, hard work, and success. After nearly two weeks in China, I look forward to returning home –- and I remain confident and optimistic that our best days are still ahead.
Just a word of thanks for your invitation to participate in the WTOBO & Sino American Goodwill Association trip to China.
for anyone interested in making the right Chinese Contacts for business
purposes, working through your organizations – WTOBO & Sino American
Goodwill Association – would be the way to go. The officials we met were the
right contacts. It would be like coming to our country and meeting with the
Vice President of the United States, Secretary of State, a member of the
Federal Reserve Board, a Governor, and the Mayor of New York, Boston and
Chicago. Quite a menu of influential people. These are the people to see to
establish venture business enterprises or international trade dealings. This
trip also resulted in a better understanding of each other’s country as well
as international relationship considerations.
Newton E. Miller
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Asian Business Coalition
USA Veterans Association -NMCB-58
Asian Seniors Coalition
Voices and Votes of Silent Americans
Korean American Federation Chapter
Vietnamese Seniors Association
Chinese American Chamber of Commerce
Asian American Culture Education Foundation
Sino American Goodwill Association
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