One year ago, Gov. Mike Leavitt and representatives from seven Utah companies went to China to drum up business. Today, that trip seems to be paying off.
A group of 20 Chinese officials paid a return visit to Utah Monday, and Leavitt told members two Utah businesses have made business deals as a direct result of relationships made during the trip."A number of important things have occurred," the governor said during a brief ceremony and press conference.
Evans and Sutherland of Salt Lake helped set up a "Digistar" or virtual system for a new Chinese planetarium.
Daw Technologies of Salt Lake, which manufactures and designs "clean rooms" and cabs for semi-tractor trailers, finalized a contract with Motorola in China.
Also, discussions have increased between the Western Governors University, one of Leavitt's pet projects, and a Chinese "productivity center."
China has 1.2 billion people and is growing by 5 to 6 percent a year. "This cannot be ignored and must be seen as a great opportunity," Leavitt told reporters and the delegation.
Ogden's Jetway Systems, which sent a representative on last year's China trip, is now talking with Chinese officials about putting Jetway's passenger loading skywalks in airports there.
Carpe Diem, a Salt Lake Valley necktie company, and Metal Craft of Cedar City also took part in the trip.
"It is part of the ongoing effort of focusing worldwide interest on Utah and its business," Dan Mabey, director of the DCED's International Business Development Office, said in a statement. "Because of that, we are experiencing increasingly higher-level business and government delegation visits to Utah."
The delegation included several bank executives, governmental commerce officials, businessmen and the vice governor of the Gansu Province in China.
Yu Xiongsong, chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, commented through an interpreter on Utah's unique characteristics in education, music, high-tech and geography. He also wished the state well in preparing for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The value of exports from Utah to China was $26 million in 1997, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Key exports are minerals, non-electric machinery, electrical products, transportation equipment and medical instruments.
The Chinese delegation arrived late Sunday and spent Monday in meetings with Leavitt and other business leaders. They were scheduled to visit Dallas and St. Paul, Minn., later in the week and spend three days in Honolulu before returning to China.