Mississippi, Asia Trade Connection

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An international delegation is paying close attention to what Mississippi has to offer in terms of business opportunities. The interest could put Mississippians to work and create a better economic climate.

China may be on the other side of the planet from Mississippi, but state leaders are hoping to bring the two places a little closer economically.

"International trade, international business, is a long term prospect," said Brent Christensen, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

Christensen helped to welcome Hong Kong commissioner, Donald Tong, to the Magnolia State Wednesday with the hope of selling the state as the place to do business.

"When you're trying to expand an economy like we are in Mississippi, it's not just domestic business that you’re trying to expand," Christensen said. "It's international business."

Currently Hong Kong is the state's 26th largest trading partner.

Christensen says with the Asian city's global position, that trade should be much higher.

Tong say Hong Kong has the world's third busiest container port and is an important launching platform for mainland Chinese companies to go oversees to places like Mississippi.

"We know that you are very strong in agricultural products, in furniture, in chemical products and aerospace products," said Tong. "You're very strong in innovation technology. You also have some of the best research universities out here."

Commissioner Tong says Mississippi businesses can even look to Hong Kong as an export destination for Mississippi-made products.

"By going through Hong Kong, you can test your products in Hong Kong, which one will work better, for example, with clothing, which size and which color," said Tong.

Christensen says building those international relationships, both economically and culturally, can help to usher in business expansion but he says it's not an overnight process.

"All that translates into more jobs, more and better jobs for the average Mississippian," said Christensen.