Newswise — The Georgia Department of Economic Development is leading a trade mission to Qingdao, Beijing and Shanghai China July 10 – 17. The delegation includes state of Georgia officials and business leaders who will explore business, trade, education, agriculture, and tourism opportunities.

“China is a critically important market for our state, and Georgia’s second-largest export market,” said Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr. “This mission is an opportunity to increase investment opportunities by showcasing some of Georgia’s great assets including agriculture, education, trade and tourism.”

The mission is anchored around the 2014 Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition. Georgia was the only U.S. state invited to showcase a garden at the exposition featuring 35 separate garden exhibits with dozens of countries and regions participating. A dedicated group of students from the University of Georgia designed the garden featuring flowers and plants native to Georgia to reflect the unique character of the state.

“The Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition gives us an opportunity to promote Georgia in China as a top place for investment opportunities, a destination for Chinese visitors with unique tourism product and activities, and higher education institutes,” said Kathe Falls, Deputy Commissioner of International Trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “This branding opportunity – at an event of this caliber will allow us to continue to grow our relationship between the U.S. and China.”

On the mission, the Georgia Department of Economic Development is hosting marketing seminars and events in Beijing and Shanghai to assist members of the delegation in expanding their business ties in these growing markets. The seminars will provide an overview of Georgia’s ties with China through business, investment, tourism, trade, agriculture, education and government.

Education is a huge component of this mission with the University System of Georgia offering numerous study abroad programs to China. Students are able to study economics, finance, ecological genetics, law and information technology in Georgia.

"Georgia State is proud to be part of this mission to further our partnerships with the Qingdao Government, and to implement dual degree programs in Master of Business Administration and Public Administration with the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, with the strong support of both the Georgia Governor's Office of Economic Development and the Qingdao Government," said Dr. Jun Liu, associate provost for international initiatives at Georgia State. "This is yet another example of fruition among more than two dozen collaborative programs and projects Georgia State has with Greater China."

More than 64 Georgia companies have operations in China. There are approximately 45 Chinese facilities operating in Georgia, of which six are manufacturing locations. These Chinese-affiliated companies employ more than 590 Georgians.

In 2013, Georgia exports to China totaled $3.73 billion, a $45 million dollar increase from 2012. Top exports from Georgia to China include: civilian aircraft engines and parts, chemical woodpulp, heavy machinery, cotton, meat products, aluminum, and electrical machinery. Georgia leads the country in exporting the following goods to China: carpets and textile floor covering, poultry, aircraft engines and parts, and wood/woodpulp products.

In 2013, Georgia’s imports from China totaled $17.6 billion, ranking first among Georgia’s top importer nations. Georgia’s top import products from China include: heavy machinery, electrical machinery, furniture, plastics, medical equipment and toys, games and sports equipment.

The tourism industry is also a vital driver of Georgia’s economy with more than $51 billion in economic impact. In 2013, Georgia saw a 16.4 percent increase in visitation levels over 2012, ranking China seventh in terms of international inbound travel to Georgia. China also ranks second in terms of international spending in state for the second year in a row, up 20.7 percent over 2012.

The state of Georgia has had continuous representation in China since 2007. In February 2014, the Georgia Department of Economic Development announced that they had selected The China Hand Consulting Co., Ltd., as the state’s newest international trade representative. The agency, based in Shanghai, complements Georgia’s international investment team for China, which is located in Qingdao. Georgia’s representatives in Qingdao and Shanghai work together to promote trade and investment throughout China.

Georgia Tourism, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, announced this week that they have retained East West Marketing Corporation as their new consumer marketing representative in China. East West Marketing is responsible for promoting the State of Georgia to the professional travel trade, travel media and individual consumers in mainland China. This is the first time that Georgia Tourism has retained representation in this critically important and growing tourism market.

The delegation includes representatives from the University of Georgia; Kennesaw State University; Bell Plantation; BAI Corporation; Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia; Southeastern Gin and Peanut; Electrostatic Spraying Systems; Lamar Pecan Co; Georgia State University; University of North Georgia; Georgia Department of Labor; and Georgia Institute of Technology. Representatives from the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s International Trade, Entertainment, Tourism and Center of Innovation for Agribusiness divisions among the delegation.

About GDEcDThe Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects. Visit

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