This weekend, Governor Eric Greitens and First Lady Sheena Greitens returned from a trade mission to China and South Korea. The trade mission included numerous meetings with government officials, business executives, potential investors, and cultural and educational partners in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Seoul.
“People around the world are paying attention to what we are doing in Missouri. They are interested in buying our products and investing in job-creating businesses in our state. I’m proud to fight for Missouri jobs and Missouri businesses by promoting opportunities for our state overseas,” said Governor Greitens.
During the Governor’s time in Asia, the Missouri delegation held meetings with companies and organizations in sectors including manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, and internet retail.
The Governor arrived in Beijing on Sunday, September 24, and met with U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad. The Governor and First Lady’s meetings in China also included meetings with the Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yang; Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua; Party Secretary of Shanghai Municipality Han Zheng; and Vice Governor Wang Xiaodong of Hebei province, Missouri’s sister-state in China.
The delegation explored opportunities to expand on existing economic ties between Missouri and China. Missouri is already home to many Chinese companies, and many Missouri companies also operate in and export to China.
The Governor and First Lady arrived in Seoul on Thursday, September 28, where official meetings included Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of the Republic of Korea, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, and Vice Minister Choi Su-gyu of the Ministry of Small & Medium Enterprises and Start-Ups.
On Friday, September 29, Governor Greitens and Vice Minister Choi signed a Memorandum of Understanding to recognize the importance of small and medium-sized enterprises for economic growth and to promote small business job creation. “We’ve agreed to increase cooperation and on the need to create jobs through the promotion of business start-ups,” Vice Minister Choi said.
The Governor and the First Lady visited the Korean War Memorial to lay a wreath in honor of the 7000 Missourians who fought and the over 900 Missouri citizens who gave their lives to defend freedom on the Korean peninsula. They also spoke with American military personnel deployed at the De-Militarized Zone separating North and South Korea, and met with Missourians currently serving with the U.S. military in Korea.
The delegation, joined by University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, also met with alumni of Missouri’s institutions of higher education. The University of Missouri’s largest alumni community outside of the state is in Korea, as a result of a scholarship and exchange program established by President Truman after the Korean War.
Missouri Department of Economic Development Acting Director Rob Dixon said, “China and Korea are two of Missouri’s largest export destinations. We look forward to Missouri’s growth in Asian markets.”
Along with Governor Greitens, Missouri Senators Sandy Crawford, Daniel Hegeman, and Robert Onder were also in attendance to support the growth of trade and investment opportunities between Missouri and Asia.
“It’s one thing to have a partnership with another nation with a successful economy, but actually traveling and meeting with business and government representatives will foster an international relationship that will help us to export more Missouri goods,” said Senator Hegeman.