COVINGTON, Ky. (April 28, 2017) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes on Thursday presented to a joint meeting of the Northern Kentucky International Trade Association and the Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce regarding Kentucky’s trade relationship with China.
“Americans – and particularly Kentuckians – know that China’s rapid economic growth over the last decades negatively impacted our workers and communities. But to build a better, more mutually beneficial future, we now must recognize the opportunities a business relationship with China can bring the Commonwealth,” said Grimes. “Even with our differences, the global economic environment means Kentucky’s economies and China’s are intertwined.”
Since 2002, exports from Kentucky to China have grown by 381%, according to information from the U.S.-China Business Council. China’s economy supports diverse industries in Kentucky by demanding billions of dollars of imports from Kentucky’s aerospace industry, motor vehicles, chemicals and equipment manufacturers.
“The sky is the limit when it comes to leveraging our economic relationship with China to create good jobs in Kentucky, expand Chinese markets for Kentucky businesses, and attract investment dollars to Kentucky,” Grimes said.
Grimes in January met with Chinese embassy officials to continue to cultivate the economic and cultural relationship between Kentucky and the People’s Republic of China.
Grimes traveled to China in 2015 to provide information about Kentucky, its business climate and economic development opportunities in the state as part of a delegation coordinated and funded by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
During the weeklong trip, Grimes spent time in several cities and met with various government and business officials. Numerous Kentucky companies, including Lexmark, KFC/Yum! Brands, Brown Forman, and Ashland Oil, have offices in China.
Grimes has also made visits to Birtley Industrial Equipment Corporation’s headquarters in Lexington and offices in China. Birtley, a manufacturer of advanced coal preparation products, was the first Chinese manufacturer to locate in Kentucky, investing approximately $10 million and creating as many as 50 new full-time jobs. Grimes called Birtley evidence of Kentucky’s ability to have a positive impact worldwide.
“I will continue to encourage growth of Kentucky businesses outside the borders of the Commonwealth and, especially, on an international stage,” Grimes said. “I firmly believe Kentucky and China can continue to grow our economies in a fashion that is mutually beneficial, but only if we move forward clear-eyed and with honesty and openness in our economic relationship.”