Gov. Mark Dayton leaves on a trade mission to China today, and he says an important part of the trip will be the opening of a new economic development office there.
Dayton is leading a delegation of 50 people to China for just over a week. The group includes representatives from business, agriculture and higher education. Officials from the Twin Cities economic development agency known as the “Greater MSP Partnership” will also be on the trip, and they plan to open an office in Shanghai.
CEO Michael Langley said the office will help businesses make connections develop relationships.
“You can’t expect to go into a first meeting and necessarily close a deal the first day,” Langley said. “It takes relationship-building. So, there will be a long-term growth strategy as well.”
Langley said the office, which is set to open next Wednesday, will also be the base for Greater MSP’s international marketing efforts.
Gov. Dayton, who made several trips to China as a U.S. Senator, also stressed the importance of building relationships.
“That’s what I’ve found in the past you need to be successful in China, which is why the Greater MSP initiative is so important,” Dayton said. “Because having somebody in the country on an ongoing basis is really going to multiply the effectiveness of a trip like this.”
State officials say China is Minnesota’s second-largest export market. In 2010, sales of Minnesota products to China reached $1.84 billion, up 45 percent from the previous year.