Culture, business highlight Chinese delegation visit

Dec 13, 2012

Greater Lafayette is looking to further establish a relationship with China.

Leaders from Lafayette, West Lafayette, and Tippecanoe County met with a group from the Shandong Province, Thursday.

The goal was to share culture and discuss business opportunities.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski calls the community’s relationship with China the best in the state.

“The thing that I continually hear even from Chinese delegations is the sense of cooperation here in the community," he said.  "People are just appreciative and it opens up opportunities when they see how the local units of government cooperate.”

The delegation spent the day in the area.

The 12 members are business and government officials, including the Shandong Province Vice Governor, Xia Geng.

Roswarski  sees the gathering as a chance to enhance personal relationships and attract new economic opportunities.

"People feel welcome here.  They feel warm and that's a big part of their decision," he said. "At the end of the day, a lot of times there is not a whole lot of difference between incentive packages that communities put out and the difference really does come out to how welcome do we feel, how warm is it here.  Do we feel like it's a good place for us and our people.”

He also credits the role the local school systems have with enhancing Greater Lafayette’s relationship with China.

Roswarski says there are a number of programs that are exposing students to the different cultures there.

Delegation Organizer Anna Chen says the local community offers unique opportunities for Chinese businesses.

“There is a perfect business environment here," she said.  "We would like to push our businesses to visit the state of Indiana more and try to find opportunities for future corporations.”

The delegation was made up of 12 business and government leaders, including the Vice Governor of the Shandong Province.

Chen says Nanshan setting up its aluminum plant in Lafayette is a building block and could help attract other Chinese businesses to the area.

The company has already hired 90 workers and expects to have 150 working at the facility when its starts to fully operate next year.