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Brewer: China trip lays ‘solid foundation’ for new opportunities

Gov. Jan Brewer. (File Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

After nearly a week of meetings in China, Gov. Jan Brewer said she’s very encouraged that the trade mission will reap great rewards for Arizona.

Speaking to reporters by phone today from Beijing, Brewer said she has had a lot of productive meetings with solar manufacturers and other high-tech companies in China, some of whom are already planning trips to Arizona. Brewer left for China on Sept. 14 as part of an Arizona Commerce Authority trade mission.

“I am very, very encouraged that it’s going to be very beneficial when I get back and we reconnect with all the contacts that we made,” Brewer said as she prepared to travel to Hong Kong for the next leg of the trip. “I believe that we laid a very solid foundation to future opportunities and I’m very optimistic that the partnership and the opportunities will really be developed as a result of this trip.”

Brewer said confidentiality prevented her from saying exactly who she had met with, but hoped to discuss some of them after she returns to Arizona.

Most of the businesses Brewer and the trade delegation met with were solar companies, Brewer said, though they met with other high-tech industries as well. She said the solar companies she met with were impressed with recent decisions by First Solar and the Chinese solar giant Suntech Power to open facilities in Arizona, and believe they have helped form a “nucleus” for the industry in the state.

“When that happens we get a lot of interest in the supply chain, which is really, really exciting. I had no idea it was so broad and so big and would be so productive for Arizona. So we’re going after it and I feel that we will be very successful,” she said.

The governor said she was surprised by how much Chinese business officials knew about Arizona, including the Arizona Competitiveness Package, a recently passed assortment of tax cuts and economic incentives, and the Commerce Authority, the public-private economic development agency that replaced the Arizona Department of Commerce.

“What was so interesting was that they knew so much personally about Arizona and had done their research on me, and they realized the situation of what the state was in when I became governor, interestingly enough,” she said. “They used words like ‘delightful,’ ‘good business practice.’ They just were very overwhelmed by what we have done in Arizona to encourage business in Arizona to encourage business and commerce.”

Brewer and the delegation will return to Arizona on Saturday.

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