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Issue: 963 Date: 2/5/2009

Chinese Move Closer to St. Louis Trade Hub

Chinese Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong speaks during the opening ceremony of the new Midwest/China Hub Commission in St. Louis, United States, Jan. 26, 2009.
        Missouri business and civic leaders gathered on Monday (Chinese New Year, January 26. 2009) morning to welcome Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong to St. Louis and announce the Midwest China Hub Commission, designed to expand trade between the Midwest and China

        Dubbed "The Big Idea," the goal of the partnership is to make the St. Louis region a hub for Chinese goods coming to the Midwest, expand on trade between the Midwest and China, and create jobs and economic development here as a result of the cooperative effort. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., says the project "could be a huge one for the local economy, creating jobs that are sorely needed in a down economy." St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association President and CEO Dick Fleming said St. Louis "is in a unique position in the center of the United States to serve this role."

        Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong was in St. Louis for the second time in less than a year on Monday.

        Ambassador Zhou says the recent creation of the so-called "Midwest-China Hub Commission" assures that the concept is more than "just talk." "To be quite frank I think Missouri was the first to come up with this idea," says Zhou. "We are buying a lot of things from this part of the United States, particularly farm products."

        China is currently the fourth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports and number one in soybean exports.

        Lambert Airport would be the site of the air hub. In 2006 Missouri invested over $1 billion for a new runway at Lambert. Today that runway remains largely unused because of cutbacks in the number of departures.

 
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong (R) meets the media with U.S. Senator Kit Bond at the opening ceremony of the new Midwest/China Hub Commission in St. Louis, United States, Jan. 26, 2009.



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