Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Tuesday in Kansas City that he’s leaving this week on an eight-day trade mission to China.
The purpose: to sign a series of agreements aimed at selling Missouri goods to China over the next three years.
“When we sell Missouri products and agricultural goods overseas, we’re creating new jobs and opportunities right here at home,” Nixon said at the Cargill soybean production facility, 2309 E. Front St.
Nixon had hoped to leave for the trip with a new agreement to build an international cargo hub catering to the Chinese at St. Louis’ Lambert airport. But Republican leaders in the General Assembly are at loggerheads over an economic-development bill that includes provisions for the cargo hub.
That bill has been the focus of a special legislative session that began in early September. But the session appears to be ending without any agreement on the measure.
“It would appear the Legislature is in the process of winding down and moving on,” Nixon said. “It fell short of what the mark was in the beginning. But (lawmakers) will be back in January and will continue to work to create jobs for Missourians.”
He said the cargo-hub legislation would have been “another asset on the table for us” in meetings with the Chinese. But Nixon said the state exported nearly a billion dollars worth of goods to China in 2010 and is on pace to increase that by 25 percent this year. That gives the state a strong foundation in its relations with the Chinese, he said.
“That one bill…will not limit our continued growth,” Nixon said.
Missouri’s agreements with the Chinese appear to be similar to those signed in recent months by other states. Nixon said the result will be a significant boost in exports to China beginning next year and continuing until 2014.
The agreements will cover farm products, manufactured goods, chemicals and other products. The final amounts of the trade agreements will be released after they’ve been signed, Nixon’s office said. Several other Missouri businesses plan to finalize and sign trade agreements during the trip.
The trip’s costs will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a non-profit group set up to promote economic growth in Missouri.
Nixon said his office is still reviewing two bills passed during the special session. One covers how teachers use social media websites and the other is a bill that creates incentives for high-tech businesses.