Georgia delegation seeks China investment

 Govind Hariharan
Govind Hariharan

KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 24, 2015)

A high-level delegation of Georgia officials began an investment tour of China on Monday as the Communist nation’s economic troubles fueled the U.S. stock market’s steep decline.

Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, is leading a two-week tour of China and Japan trying to drum up interest among manufacturers and others who might consider investing in Georgia. Some of the two-dozen government and industry representatives from Georgia met Monday with Hong Kong trade officials and visited the Hong Kong campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The delegation, which includes Gov. Nathan Deal’s chief of staff and the state’s labor commissioner, will continue on to Shenzhen, Qingdao and Shanghai before heading to Japan. Their visit coincides with a stock market swoon, a devalued currency and larger, scarier questions about the direction of China’s managed economy.

The Rhodium Group, which analyzes Chinese investment in this country, recently estimated that China is poised to invest up to $200 billion in the United States by 2020. But the report was issued before China’s market and currency troubles.

Govind Hariharan, an economics professor at Kennesaw State, wasn’t unduly pessimistic Monday about the Georgia delegation’s prospects.

“This visit will lay the groundwork for many future investments from China and Japan and the U.S., as a safe location may be even more attractive for these foreign enterprises,” he said in a statement. “It may take a year or more for such visits to get crystallized into actual business and, hence, now is as good a time as any.”

The delegation drives to Shenzhen on Tuesday where they will meet with representatives from technology companies Huawei and SoZo.