State, ISU representatives meet with Chinese province officials

September 13, 2008

SHENYANG, China - In a meeting Saturday evening between Indiana government and business leaders, an Indiana State University delegation and the People's Congress of Liaoning Province, officials pledged mutual support and to continue learning from one another.

The Indiana State University officials and students along with other Indiana officials and business leaders are in China as part of a joint conference to take place Sunday (Sept. 14) at Liaoning University to discuss economic relations and regional development.

"We are looking forward to your advice in the forum tomorrow," said Wang Zhuan, vice chairman of The Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Liaoning Province.

"We look forward to the conference at the university, but I think that we could take advice from you. Your changes in the economy are remarkable," said former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan during his meeting with Wang.

In the past 30 years, Wang said Liaoning has had good momentum of economic growth and trade. Many companies, including General Motors and General Electric, have company offices in Liaoning Province. The province of 42 million people in northeast China has seen double digit economic growth for the past three years, with its gross domestic product increasing by 14.8 percent last year.

"We expect this year's increase not to be slower," Wang said. "All the development we have achieved is due to the opening up policy launched by Deng Xiaoping (leader of China from 1978 until 1990)."

Kernan informed Wang that the changes and the economy in China and Liaoning are remarkable, and added that Indiana has been on the forefront of China's economic changes.

"Indiana was one of the first states to recognize the importance of international trade," he said. "We established an office here in China in 1987 to encourage Indiana businesses to look for opportunities here as well as for Chinese businesses in Indiana."

China is Indiana's fifth largest export market and has been the state's fastest growing export market for the past seven years. Exports of Indiana products to China have grown faster than the overall rate of U.S. exports. China is also one of the state's largest import markets.

"We have very strong support, bi-partisan support and they agree very strongly in international trade and economic development," Kernan said.

Sunday's "Bridging China and America" conference, hosted by Liaoning University, is co-sponsored by Indiana State and Liaoning universities and the Indianapolis-based legal and professional services firm Baker & Daniels.

It is a follow-up to a 2007 conference that Indiana State hosted in Indianapolis. Indiana State and Liaoning universities have had educational partnerships for 18 years and are now leading economic development efforts in their respective regions.

Photo
International partners Mike Alley, president of the Indiana State University trustees, addresses business, government and educational leaders and students during a meeting Saturday (Sept. 13) in Shenyang, China. Also at the table (left to right) are former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan; Wang Zhuan, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Liaoning Province; and Liaoning University President Cheng Wei. (ISU/Tony Campbell)

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jennifer.sicking@indstate.edu