AP News

Maine weeklong trade mission headed to China


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage will lead Maine business professionals, academic recruiters and government representatives on a weeklong trade mission to China beginning this weekend, the administration said Tuesday.

The group leaves Saturday for a trip that will include stops in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It will be LePage's first overseas mission as governor, although he has visited Canada to encourage business development. He canceled plans to participate in a trade mission last year to Chile and Brazil because of state budget issues in Augusta.

LePage said the mission to China is all about boosting Maine's export trade, developing investment contacts and increasing business attraction. Educational institutions also see a promising market in China. About 1,000 Chinese students are now enrolled in the Maine's schools.

Participating industries include medical products and biotech sectors, advanced materials, wood and seafood sectors.

The trade mission, which is mostly privately funded, begins in Hong Kong, proceeds to Shanghai on Sept. 12 and concludes when the delegation returns to Maine on Sept. 15.

Maine International Trade Center President Janine Cary said the past year has seen increased demand for trade assistance related to China. Cary said Tuesday that China is Maine's third-largest export market, with $275 million in exports last year.

"Based on a number of advance meetings that have taken place via teleconference in recent weeks, we expect this will be a very successful trade mission for participating businesses and schools," Cary said.


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