Friday, February 03 2017
Photo Caption: Consul General Hong Lei of the People’s Republic of China In Chicago, and Whiteside County Economic Development Director Gary Camarano discussed a potential visit to Whiteside County and the Northwest Illinois Region during a Chinese New Year celebratory luncheon last week.
Morrison, IL -- Last Friday, January 27th, marked the Chinese New Year, China’s most important holiday. Gary Camarano, Whiteside County’s Economic Development Director, participated in a celebratory luncheon in Chicago’s Chinatown where the People’s Republic of China’s Consul General Hong Lei was the guest of honor. The luncheon celebrated “the Year of the Rooster.” While at the event Mr. Camarano had a chance to talk with Consul General Hong about the Whiteside/Northwest Illinois Region, and exploring more mutually beneficial trade and investment opportunities between the Whiteside region and the world’s second largest economy, China.
Mr. Camarano explained, “As part of our outreach and marketing efforts we want to increase market awareness about our region and its businesses, and meet with representatives of countries that offer trade opportunities, and have an interest in locating businesses in the region. The People’s Republic of China is one of countries we have on our list. They are a huge market for quality, advanced manufactured products, and are increasing their investment in U.S. locations.”
During a conversation with Mr. Camarano, Consul General Hong stressed China’s desire for “increased mutually beneficial trade, investment, education and cultural exchanges,” and expressed an interest in finding out more about the Whiteside region’s small and medium sized businesses, and how Mr. Hong and his staff could present opportunities for mutually beneficial trade investment between China and the region.
Camarano said, “We had a good discussion about China’s desire to connect our small and mid-sized export ready businesses with their small and mid-sized businesses. There are products we produce that the Chinese market has a demand for. They appreciate our quality and innovation and there lies an opportunity.” Siva Yam, President of the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce reinforced those sentiments, pointing out, “That while China has an edge in lower labor costs, the U.S. has an advantage in consistent quality, innovation and labor productivity,” and, “there is demand for many U.S. produced goods in China.”
Also discussed were recent trends in Chinese investments in the United States. Mr. Hong pointed out that last year saw Chinese investment in the U.S. grow to over $45 billion, the first time that Chinese investment in the U.S. exceeded U.S. investment in China. He predicted the trend would continue.
Camarano added, “I’m going to take the Consul General up on his desire to learn more about our local businesses and their strengths, and how they may be able to take advantage of trade opportunities with Chinese businesses. A formal invitation to the Consul General and his staff to visit the region to discuss mutually beneficial opportunities for our businesses will be forth coming. We’ve a number of innovative and entrepreneurial companies that might be able to take advantage of these opportunities, and sites suitable for a business looking for a U.S. location.”
The New Year’s celebration was attended by approximately 50 business and civic leaders, and was held at the Fortune House in Chicago’s Chinatown. The Central Asian Productivity Research Center hosted the event.