Snyder merits praise for China policy

Tom Watkins

It is as simple as it is visionary: “Seek ways to export our good and service around the globe and seek Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) here at home in ways that produce jobs for our people” Gov. Rick Snyder said.

Snyder has taken on the head winds of xenophobia and China bashing and has built relationships that have produced over $650 million in investment, creating hundreds if not thousands of high paying jobs for Michigan workers during his tenure as governor.

Snyder is rightfully proud of the bridges he built with China that are paying off with jobs and investment in Michigan. Snyder emphasizes, “We have built strong relationships in China since our first mission in 2011. We are excited to continue telling the Michigan comeback story and making the case that there is no better place in North America for Chinese companies to expand and create jobs than in Michigan.

“As Chinese travelers are now going all over the world and the United States more, this is a great opportunity to tell people about Pure Michigan tourism.”

The governor is off on his sixth trade mission to China. Snyder will be joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. This will be the first trade mission featuring both the governor the mayor of Detroit joining together to make the case for investing in Michigan. Both the state and the city are in the upswing and open for business and investment. Both have an exciting story to tell.

Business and investment goes where it is welcome and stays where it is nurtured. Snyder understands this business principal and further understands that doing business in China is not the equivalent of a “one night stand.” He has traveled to China at least once a year since entering office to build the relationships necessary to attract and sustain job creating investment.

Coco Zhang-Miske, the global technology planning manager for Buick, GMC, and GM China Strategy, and president of the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals points out that, “since taking office Governor Snyder has been doggedly determined to build Michigan’s success by exporting our goods and services overseas and seeking investment from around the globe in our great state.”

Michigan’s historic China policy, prior to the Snyder administration can best be summed up as “Peking Duck;” avoiding a market with 1.4 billion consumers, the world’s largest auto market, a need and desire for all we produce and a rising middle class that eclipses the entire population of the United States.

With continued leadership that does not get bogged down in anti-China political rhetoric there is a Chinese gold mountain to climb that will continue to pay dividends to Michigan and America.

The China wave will continue to wash up on our shores — we can do nothing and be swamped or continue to follow the path that Snyder and his team have blazed and ride the wave.

Opportunity abounds in automotive, tourism, agriculture, education, environmental technology, and medical tourism to only name a few.

We should give praise to Snyder for understanding that China’s rise need not come at Michigan’s demise. His vision is paying off for us all.

Tom Watkins is president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.