Arizona officials met with Chinese officials at a Trade Cooperation Forum Sept. 8 in Scottsdale to mark the signing of 41 contracts and cooperation agreements between various U.S.-based businesses and China.Gov. Jan Brewer was in attendance with government officials from Colorado, Idaho, Kansa, and Nevada, as well as Wu Bangguo, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and his delegation.
The contracts signed at the forum, which was held at the Scottsdale Hyatt Regency hotel, were estimated to be worth $12.4 billion for all the companies involved. Arizona officials at the Governor’s Office and the Department of Commerce were unable to estimate the net worth of the contracts with Arizona businesses.
Brewer stated in a press release that the contracts will mean more jobs in Arizona, as China is the state’s third-largest trade partner, bringing $1.2 billion for Arizona businesses in 2008.
That was a dramatic increase from past years, such as 2004, when the trade between the two was valued at $600 million, said David Drennon, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Commerce.
Contracts involved industries such as renewable energy, electronics and machinery. Five Arizona companies, Honeywell International, First Solar, Freescale Semiconductor, Avionic Engineering Services and Veeco, were among the businesses that signed contracts. The Arizona businesses will turn out products such as auto parts, computer components and renewable-energy sources, Drennon said.
The First Solar contract was the largest of the Arizona companies involved in the agreement, which will lead to a solar power plant being built in China. Details have not been finalized, but if the solar plant was built in the U.S., it would cost between $5 billion and $6 billion. The cost in China is estimated to be less, however, due to lower labor costs, among other factors, said Melanie Friedman, a spokeswoman for First Solar.
The contracts also mean a great deal of technology will go to China. Wu stated in the press release that the new contracts, plus some deals signed earlier this year make America, “the largest source of technology for China.”
Wu added, “As long as we work to seek opportunities in this time of crisis, there is a great deal we can achieve.”
Wu’s stop in Scottsdale marked one day of his two-week tour across the U.S. and other countries in the Western Hemisphere. The delegation had been to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it is now headed to Washington D.C. and Alaska. Arizona was selected for the forum’s meeting place due to its innovation and recent increase in foreign trade, Drennon said.
-This story was written and reported by Sarah MacDonald. She can be reached at [email protected]