AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Governor Paul LePage, other state officials and private business people are back from China, and say they made some important connections that should help grow more business and investment.
The week-long trade mission focused on the business centers of Hong King and Shanghai. China is the world's second largest economy, but the Maine International Trade Center says it can be a difficult place to make business connections. The MITC did some of that work for the 13 businesses on the trip, providing each with seven or eight "face to face" meetings with potential buyers for their products or services.
Maine lobster and seafood businesses made the trip, as did several biomedical companies and forest products businesses -- all looking to increase sales to China. There were also other companies looking for Chinese investments here in Maine. State economic development officials and the International Trade Center say forming those connections with China is the most important first step. They say that's part of the culture of China, and business can't be done without it.
They also said having Gov. LePage, the state's top official, on the trip helped to open doors that would not have opened otherwise --- particularly with other Chinese government officials. Those meetings, they believe, will help the businesses that made the trip make some deals in the months ahead, and make Chinese sales as a result.
The group is also hoping the trip will help recruit Chinese investors to put money into Maine. The MITC unveiled a new video that targets families with children attending school in Maine. The MITC says there are nearly a thousand Chinese students here this year, and the "visit, study, invest" initiative is aimed at their well-to-do parents.