JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced on Monday a deal with Chinese officials to "aggressively pursue and expedite the completion of export transactions to the People's Republic of China" totaling $4.4 billion, according to the official document. The statement of intent commits the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade to working together in order to determine what specific trade and investment activities will take place.
The document outlines several obligations, including exchanging information and facilitating "business matchmaking services," and to "generally advance the promotion of trade and investment between the state of Missouri and the People's Republic of China."
Nixon, who's currently in Beijing, said he closed the deal during his trip despite concerns voiced by the Chinese regarding the legislature's failure to agree on the St. Louis trade hub.
"The topic [of the China hub] came up a couple of times but not as a centerpiece of any of the agreements we were involved with," Nixon said.
The China hub bill, which Nixon included in his call for the special session, created incentives to encourage an international trade hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The bill has made little progress but was previously touted by Nixon as something that would greatly encourage expanded trade with China.
A recent trade flight from China was scheduled to land at Lambert last week but Nixon said it was canceled due to a lack of cargo. The first two flights did not have issues with finding cargo. Nixon said he will meet with airport officials to discuss more details on the flight's cancellation.
The agreement reached between Nixon and Chinese officials "includes a specific emphasis on agriculture exports to Chinese consumers," according to a press release from Nixon's office. The agreement specifies $1.2 billion of exports for the benefit of agricultural producers and $3.2 billion for the benefit of manufacturers over the course of three years.
"Over the next three years we will work closely with the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade to sell $4.4 billion of Missouri goods to China," Nixon said.
Missouri currently exports $987.4 million of products to China each year; according to Nixon's press release exports will be increased by more than $1 billion from 2012 to 2014.
The group in China with Nixon includes representatives from agricultural groups including the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Soybean Association and Missouri Beef Industry Council. The delegation met with high-ranking Chinese government officials to negotiate the deal.