Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith Outlines New York-China Trade Prospects

Malcolm A. Smith

July 19, 2007

State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) today reported on the many business opportunities awaiting New York companies in China -- the outcome of his three recent trade missions to the Asian country.


Smith delivered the remarks during a legislative breakfast meeting at the Asian Development Center in Manhattan. The meeting was also attended by Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) Chairman Patrick Foye and Kuang Wailin, Acting Consul General of the People's Republic of China.

"It was truly an honor to work with the Asian American Business Development Center in traveling to China," Smith said. "The visits certainly expanded my knowledge base and helped me discover ways New York State-based companies can take part in China's emerging markets."

In recent years, China has positioned itself as a major player on the global economic stage -- one reason why Smith said it is important for New York businesses to take advantage of commercial relationships in China. Analysts project that China's Gross National Product (GNP) will expand at such a rate that it will become the second largest in the world by 2020.

"While much is happening to foster economic growth on the domestic front through a number of important policy measures, state government cannot overlook the opportunity to serve as a conduit for small and medium-sized New York companies to conduct business on theinternational stage," Smith said.

"There are two important things we are trying to do in state government: one, making sure that people know that New York is open for business, and two, making sure we recapture our leadership place in the world," Smith added.

Smith said the main purpose of his visits to China has been to promote New York products and services overseas where he learned that several New York companies have already forged lucrative business relationships in China, particularly in the perfume and cosmetics, beer distribution, jewelry and professional services markets.

What makes these ventures successful, Smith said, is the ability of businesses to take hold of commercial trends and stay adaptive to fluid market conditions. Smith hopes to find ways of extending these successes to other New York companies wanting to do business in China.

Smith said he will be traveling to China again in September. On that trip, he plans to hold talks with China's Ministry of Commerce about the possibility of opening a New York Center staffed to help New York companies identify potential markets, develop contacts and promote products and services.

"We envision a strategically sited hub where companies can network, learn about new business opportunities and forge the kind of relationships that help them steer products, services and brands into new and emerging Chinese markets," Smith said.

Smith said he has discussed the prospect of siting a New York Center in Beijing with the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The Center would highlight the state's commercial, cultural, technological and tourism assets.

He added that New York agriculture is one prime example of a market poised for increased export to China, especially as Chinese consumers demand the kinds of quality food products that New York is uniquely able to supply.

"Domestically, New York agriculture has a second-to-none kind of reputation. There is no reason why we cannot market this reputation on the world stage, particularly in countries like China where an untapped potential for demand surely exists," Smith said.