SAN FRANCISCO, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Governor Bill Walker of the U.S. northwestern state of Alaska has said that the state's energy project can help improve trade relations between the United States and China.
"The Alaska LNG (liquefied natural gas) project is key to reducing the trade imbalance between the U.S. and China," Walker's office quoted him as saying in a statement released Monday.
Walker is currently heading a delegation of businesses from around Alaska to travel in China as part of a week-long trade show called Opportunity Alaska: China Trade Mission.
The Alaska LNG project is a 43-billion-U.S.-dollar program being promoted by the state's major energy developer, the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC), which would see an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas from Prudhoe Bay, taken down through a 1,287-km-long pipeline and turned into LNG at a plant before being shipped overseas.
The AGDC is working hard to woo international investors including Goldman Sachs, Bank of China, China Investment Corp. and China's major energy company Sinopec to get involved in the state's mega energy project.
Walker's office said the Alaska governor met Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing at the fourth China-U.S. governors' forum on Sunday, the same day when the United States and China announced in a joint statement that they have reached consensuses on economic and trade issues and pledged not to engage in a trade war.
"Thanks to President (Donald) Trump and President Xi Jinping for working together to improve trade relations between our two countries. As a result, the timing of Alaska's trade mission could not be better," Walker said in the statement.
He said Alaska has an array of businesses and organizations prepared to lay the groundwork for more economic and cultural ties between the world's two largest economies.
"We can and will prosper together. I am excited to showcase what Alaska has to offer in the coming week," he said.
Walker's trade mission is composed of 26 Alaskan organizations representing a wide range of Alaska firms, including the AGDC, Alaska native corporations, and members of the education, tourism, seafood, beer and baby-food industries.
The delegation wants to expand Alaska's trade ties with China and find more business opportunities for Alaskan enterprises and firms during its week-long trip to the world's second-largest economy.
The governor also hopes to highlight Alaska's strategic position as the closest U.S. state to China. He said early this week that Opportunity Alaska is about building something bigger.
The delegation is scheduled to visit the major Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China, during the trip that began on May 19 and ends on May 26.
According to official Chinese data, China has been Alaska's largest trade partner and export destination since 2011.
Walker's office said Alaska exported more than 1.32 billion U.S. dollars' worth of goods to China in 2017.