Earlier this month, Delaware Governor Jack Markell (D) spent a week in Asia, trying to drum up business for Delaware.
Markell’s first trip to the region didn’t result in any blockbuster deals, but he says that wasn’t the purpose. Markell visited with companies that currently do business in Delaware, including solar panel manufacturer Motech Industries. He says the reason for his trip wasn’t necessarily to get contracts signed, but rather to build relationships with company leaders in China and Taiwan. “This is really about building relationships over a period of time. Obviously, telling the Delaware story, it’s a good story to tell, and making sure that the right people hear it.”
In addition to visiting with Motech, Markell also met with some of Taiwan’s importers who bring Delaware’s poultry to customers in Asia. “That’s an important industry for us, and I want to make sure that they also know how much we value that relationship.”
He says dealing with business leaders in a different culture isn’t very different than dealing with their counterparts in America. “Business is business. There is a common language. We’re interested in jobs; they’re interested in economic opportunity. I get that having come from the business world myself. So, you can be under no delusion as to why people would be interested in investing. They don’t do it for reasons of charity.”
Markell says he was impressed by the economic activity underway in China with construction cranes dotting the landscape of cities. “That could be opportunities for American companies that figure it out, and some of those Chinese companies are interested in potentially investing in the United States. If they do, I want them to know about Delaware.”
The governor doesn’t have another overseas trip planned right now, but it’s likely this will not be his last such economic mission. “My sense is that we’re going to do whatever we have to do to create jobs in Delaware and to the extent that we think there are additional opportunities to focus on, we’ll do that.”