by Xinhua Writer Tan Jingjing
DETROIT, the United States, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of Michigan has benefited immensely from its partnerships with China, and it sees significant interests in the Chinese market, a senior official from Michigan's economic development agency said.
China is an important trade and investment partner of Michigan, Otie McKinley, media and communications manager of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"On the investment side, more than 300 Chinese companies with operations in Michigan support more than 10,000 Michigan jobs, and have invested more than 4 billion U.S. dollars here," he said.
On the trade side, China was among the top three export markets of Michigan, McKinley said, adding that Michigan's export sales to China totaled 3.55 billion dollars in 2018.
"By ensuring we are partners rather than competitors, we are increasing our exports, attracting Chinese investment, and creating new jobs for Michiganders," he added.
According to McKinley, the MEDC aims to set up actionable meetings between Michigan companies and Chinese customers and distributors, as well as provide ongoing support for Michigan companies seeking to grow in China and other markets around the world.
He admitted the U.S.-China trade conflict had an impact on Michigan's trade links with China.
"Michigan's unemployment rate is near historic lows and growth is strong. Still, the impacts in our business with China are noticeable," he said.
Michigan's export sales to China were more than 3.67 billion dollars in 2017, and dropped to 3.55 billion dollars in 2018, according to McKinley.
Michigan leads the world in the development and integration of intelligent connected vehicles and is one of the first states to legalize self-driving vehicles on public roads.
The state has long been a worldwide automotive hub for manufacturing, as well as for research, engineering, design and testing.