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The Importance of Connecting Globally

March 2012 Op-Ed Column

By Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey

As Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, I have had great opportunities to learn about the mutually beneficial trade relationship between the United States and foreign nations.  The partnership between the state of Alabama and China is one that brings a significant economic benefit to us.

Alabama exported over $2.3 billion of goods to China in 2011, making it Alabama’s second largest export market and placing Alabama as third in the nation for dollar amount of exports shipped to China.

Last year, I had the opportunity to promote Alabama, its products, and its people when I attended an economic development mission to China. I visited Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Beijing and even spent time with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. I strongly believe that if we want to grow and diversify Alabama’s economy, we must be able to not only sell our goods to other countries but also provide them with incentives to locate and expand their businesses here as well. That was the entire purpose of my trip to China, and I’d say the progress we made on expanding communication for future opportunities for Alabama exports was well worth the journey.

The Alabama China Partnership was formed earlier this year in order to provide prospects for people and entities interested in developing cultural, educational, and business relationships between the State of Alabama and Peoples’ Republic of China. They are holding the first Alabama China Partnership Symposium March 15-16 in Monroeville and close to 100 Chinese companies will be in attendance. This can only mean one thing: Alabama is on their radar and we are relevant.

Alabama is full of abundant natural resources as well as industrious, hard-working and driven people.  Our state leadership realizes that job creation starts with an available, dedicated workforce and our incentive programs are designed to provide companies opportunities to invest in our state and its people. We’ve made a commitment to award-winning job-training programs, such as AIDT, so that those who choose to locate here will have an immediate pool of potential employees.

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We are proud to already have the a Chinese owned company, Golden Dragon Precision Copper Tube Group, building a facility in Alabama and hope that through programs such as the Alabama China Partnership we can continue to work together and benefit each other’s economy.

For more information on The Alabama China Partnership please visit www.alabamachina.com.

I am honored by the confidence you vested in me by electing me as your lieutenant governor and am well aware that public service is not a right, but a privilege. The most successful elected officials are those who hear from and listen to folks back home.  My office stands ready to welcome your comments and prepared to respond to your concerns. Please feel free to contact us at 334-242-7900.

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Gov. Kay Ivey is the governor of the state of Alabama.

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