NEW YORK, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Tampa Bay region in the U.S. East Coast state of Florida is working to deepen its business connections with China, a business insider has said.
"There is a lot of potential for mutual cooperation and opportunities," Bill Cronin, president and CEO of the Pasco Economic Development Council, part of Global Tampa Bay, told Xinhua in a recent phone interview as he was preparing a trip to China later this month, aiming to expand business ties.
Global Tampa Bay is a regional collaboration to increase international business opportunities for companies within the region and to market the region globally as a top business destination.
Health care, life sciences and medical technology are among the promising sectors where Chinese companies can thrive in the region, said Cronin, who has over 20 years of experience in business, economic development and international trade.
Instead of merger and acquisition, Chinese companies are becoming increasingly mature in their investment strategies, the business leader noted, drawing on his 15-year experience of dealing with Chinese businesses.
"Now we're seeing a lot of companies looking for more vertical integration into their own industries, so that the investments they are making are very smart and in the complement operations in China," he said.
By far, the U.S. East Coast is still lagged in terms of recipients of Chinese investments as compared with the West Coast, said Cronin, citing distance and lack of direct shipping access for many years as major reasons.
"So there's a big opportunity to expand the knowledge of what's available on the East Coast," he said. "The most important thing for us is to make sure that we have the infrastructure that people can trade and then to allow them to also come into to make investments."
In January, the Port of Tampa Bay saw direct shipping services to and from China through the Panama Canal operated by China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO).
In June, CMA CGM, another shipping group headquartered in France, started direct services, connecting Tampa with such Asian ports as Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ningbo and Shanghai, according to the Port of Tampa Bay, the largest port in Florida.
Chinese companies, whoever comes here first, would be likely to benefit from being a pioneer or blazing that trail, "whereas in the West Coast, there's a lot of Chinese competition among their peers," said Cronin.
He revealed that earlier this year, a Chinese pharmaceutical company expressed its intention of investing in Pasco County, hopefully to help diversify local economy by creating high paying jobs and increasing the industrial property tax base.
The business insider, who has traveled to many Chinese cities during several decades of career in four different states in the East Coast, said he saw a lot of similarities between some parts of China and the southeastern United States, especially Florida, which could generate prospects for further cooperation.
Commenting on the current trade issues, Cronin said the United States and China should work together to find a common ground, as the world's two largest economies have so many different types of industry relationships that are interdependent upon each other from the supply chain.
"It would be very difficult for us not to do business together," he added.
According to the non-profit U.S.-China Business Council, which comprises around 200 American companies doing business with China, about 2.3 million Americans have jobs related to trade with China, of which a million rely on exports to China, a million imports from China, and about 300,000 work for Chinese enterprises investing in their country.