Editor’s note: Roby Brock, with our content partner Talk Business, wrote this report. He can be reached at email@example.com
Gov. Mike Beebe (D) said he thinks progress is being made on resolving issues important to Arkansas companies doing business in China and in convincing job prospects to come to the Natural State.
Beebe, who remains in China, held a conference call with reporters on Tuesday night (April 10) to provide an update on his trade mission to China. He said that he was impressed by the eagerness of the communist country to engage in capitalistic enterprise.
“I’ve been struck by how friendly they are and how unafraid of us as they seem to be,” Beebe said. “We’re selling the heck out of Arkansas and selling the heck out of Arkansas’ people.”
The Arkansas Governor had travelled to a Walmart store in China and met with regional and national Chinese officials. Beebe said he felt those meetings “advanced issues related to policies” for Bentonville-based Wal-Mart Stores and Springdale-based Tyson Foods, both of which have major operations in China. Beebe declined to explain what policies he discussed with Chinese leaders.
He also said he had two meetings with economic prospects that might eye Arkansas for the location of business operations. One prospect was in the early stages of consideration, while a second prospect was further along.
“I think a decision has been made to go somewhere in the U.S.” Beebe said of the second prospect.
As he has done throughout his tenure, Beebe declined to reveal details about negotiations with business prospects. He did add that a third prospect, a light manufacturing company, that he was meeting with later in the week was in even more advanced stages of making a decision.
“China economically right now is exploding,” said Beebe. “I’m hopeful that within the short-term we’ll actually see some positive signs of Chinese investment and job creation for Arkansans.”
Beebe repeated his earlier statements before he left for China that he had no timetable for gauging the success of the trade mission. Regardless, he felt a long-term pay-off would be seen.
“Those states that are aggressive in trying to capitalize on the opportunity for investment would be making a wise decision,” he added.