State Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, will be part of a 33-member Georgia delegation meeting next week with Chinese government and business leaders.
But getting there is also a key part of the trade mission.
Delta Air Lines is flying direct from Atlanta to Shanghai for the first time, and that “will open up a lot of business opportunity for the Southeast in general and Georgia in particular,” Miller said in an interview earlier this week.
“There are a 100 or so Chinese companies that have a presence in Georgia and we will call on a lot of those companies,” Miller said. “We will also visit companies that are giving consideration to opening up in Georgia.”
Tim Evans, vice president for economic development with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said Hall County has no China-based companies, “but we do have some companies doing business in China and Taiwan.”
That’s mirrored elsewhere in Georgia, Miller said.
“I think there are more Georgia businesses in China than there are Chinese businesses in Georgia,” he said.
Stefanie Paupeck Harper, spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, confirmed that the trip is “built around a celebration of (Delta’s) new direct route from Atlanta to Shanghai.”
The flight for China leaves Friday, July 20, and returns July 28.
“This mission, like all of our high-level international travel, supports (Georgia’s) efforts toward investment, business development, trade and tourism,” Harper said.
The agenda includes four prospect meetings, a reception to celebrate the direct flight and a formal agreement signing between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority, she said.
Also, there will be “briefings and roundtable discussions with the U.S. Commercial Service and the American Chamber of Commerce, trade/export meetings and relationship-building meetings with Chinese government leaders and trade representatives,” Harper said.
The Georgia delegation will largely be in Shanghai on the Chinese coast and Xi’an in central China.
“Another part of this is the tourism” potential, Miller said. “The Chinese middle class is growing like crazy. This direct flight would increase tourism from China to Georgia and Georgia to China.”