Governor Nixon and other Missouri dignitaries are welcoming the Chinese ambassador to the United States to Missouri, with a lot at stake.
The talks center on trade, but Missouri officials are pressing hard to formalize a deal with China to establish a $40 million Midwest trade hub based at St. Louis’ Lambert Airport.
The hub is considered a key to reviving the sagging prospects of Lambert, but also providing easier access to the growing markets of China to businesses located throughout the Midwest.
Governor Nixon said during a news conference held in his Capitol office that it makes sense to locate the trade hub in Missouri.
“First of all, we are centrally located in the United States,” Nixon says. “We’re in a unique opportunity to be with the growing, emerging economy, fast-growing economy, of China to be the leading spot for exporting Missouri goods and opening up trade opportunities both ways.”
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong has held talks with Missouri’s Congressional delegation, St. Louis area officials and now state officials.
“I came out of such discussions with re-enforced confidence that this big idea is the right decision. It is indeed a visionary step and will materialize to serve both sides,” Wenzhong said during the news conference at the Capitol.
A trade hub in St. Louis could be a boon to agri-business and manufacturing firms as well as those in health care and technology.
The ambassador continues to make the rounds with state officials and business leaders today.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60]
Gov. Nixon holds news conference with Ambassador Wenzhong [20 min]