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Perdue: Georgia, other countries face similar challenges

Governor attends conference in China

POSTED: August 10, 2008 5:01 a.m.

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Gov. Sonny Perdue is in China for a conference involving representatives of states and provinces from around the world.

Perdue invited representatives of four Georgia news organizations, including The Times, to participate in a teleconference to discuss his meetings with representatives from Canada, Germany, Brazil, China, Austria and South Africa.

Perdue said the discussions, which are taking place in Jinan, in the Chinese province of Shandong, have centered on global issues such as health care, energy and resource conservation.

"There is much commonality among the challenges we all face," Perdue said.

While the meeting is not a trade mission, Perdue said it is an opportunity to establish cordial relationships with other nations. He said many of the world’s other state leaders know of Georgia.

"I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta," he said. "The Chinese said today that everyone knows about Atlanta because of the Games. Before that, it was ‘Gone With the Wind’ or Dr. Martin Luther King and Jimmy Carter. They know Atlanta, and they know Georgia. They know where it is. It is interesting at this level to gauge the international awareness."

Georgia is the only U.S. state participating in the conference.

Though it was midmorning in Georgia, Perdue’s media teleconference came late in the evening local time after a day of meetings and a banquet hosted by Jiang Daming, governor of Shandong province, and Jiang Yikang, secretary of Shandong committee of the Communist Party of China.

Perdue said the weaker dollar has made investment in Georgia attractive to international companies.

"There is no doubt that the currency exchange is very helpful from a bargaining perspective," Perdue said. "Everyone still recognizes the power of the American consumer market. What those manufacturers have understood is the best inflation hedge, the best currency hedge is to produce where the consumption is. There isn’t a company in the world that makes goods that doesn’t want to be in the U.S. market.

The governor plans to return to Georgia on Friday. This is his second trip to China. In March, he accompanied Delta Air Lines as it inaugurated nonstop service to Shanghai. The delegation also visited Beijing and marked the opening of the Georgia economic development office in China’s capital city.

This is Perdue’s 15th international trip since taking office in 2003.



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