By Eddie Drews
INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana and the Chinese province of Zhejiang approach the 30th anniversary of their partnership, Gov. Eric Holcomb renewed the agreement with Zhejiang Party Secretary Che Jun, who traveled from China to mark the occasion.
“They chose our state because of our great business climate, our balanced budgets, our low taxes, our predictable regulations, our people, our skilled workforce, our continuity, our stability,” Holcomb said Thursday at an event at the Indiana Convention Center. “The list goes on and on and on.”
Zhejiang Party Secretary Che Jun speaks at the renewal celebration of sister-states Indiana and the Zhejian province. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
The renewal agreement between the Indiana and its sister-state symbolizes the continued efforts to build economic relations, encourage industrial innovation, and foster cultural, educational and healthcare exchanges.
During former Indiana Gov. Robert Orr’s administration, Indiana and Zhejiang began building a relationship that has stayed strong for three decades. The relationship between the two sister-states is built on economic, cultural, and educational interests that they have in common.
For both Indiana and Zhejiang, the highest-ranking official in the province and a member of the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Congress, the partnership is more than an agreement on paper.
According to the Indiana Economic Development Corp., since 2010 Chinese companies have announced that they plan to invest more than $217 million to create nearly 1,000 new jobs in Indiana. Indiana, on the other hand, sent more than $1.7 billion in exports to Chinese markets last year.
Gov. Eric Holcomb viewing the Zhejiang exhibit after the partnership renewal celebration at the Indiana Convention Center. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
In addition, BeijingWest Industries, Co. Ltd announced that it will establish its first U.S. operation in the Hoosier state. BeijingWest manufactures and supplies suspension systems and brakes for automobiles, according to its website. By 2021, the company said it plans to create up to 440 high-paying jobs in Indiana.
“It’s these type of partnerships that truly have propelled Indiana and Zhejiang to that next level,” Gov. Holcomb said. “ And all of our business opportunities that have come with it and enhanced international trade that literally turn fields into fields of dreams.”
Like his predecessors, Holcomb said that he accepts the province’s recent invitation to visit Zhejiang and is making plans for the trip.
Zhejiang is a province on the southeast border of China and has a larger coastline and number of islands than any other province in the country. Seventy percent of the province is composed of mountains and hills.
As a celebration of the partnership renewal between the sister-states, the Indiana Convention Center hosted an exhibit that displayed many features of the Zhejiang culture. Visitors could walk through the exhibit and drink tea, hear music, and see the dancing and art that makes Zhejiang culture so unique.
Eddie Drews is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.