Alaska seeks to expand business cooperation with China: governor
According to the joint statement between the two countries issued on Saturday, China will significantly increase its purchases of U.S. goods and services.
Governor Bill Walker says that Alaska is well suited for this development.
"Alaska is a very rich resource state. If we were a country, we would be the eighth richest resource country in the world. So we are the closest state to China, we have natural gas, we have gold, we have silver, we have copper, we have all sorts of opportunities in Alaska for resource. So we have commodity that is needed in China, so we are perfect fit for the situation that we are in right now."
During U.S. President Donald Trump's visit to China last November, the two sides signed a deal to jointly explore natural gas in Alaska.
The governor says the gas project will be beneficial to both sides.
"So what that does is that it will create or bring over about 8 to 10 billion dollars of product to China every year and we think that project can last for a hundred years. So that's nearly a trillion dollars of commodity coming over to China from the United States. That's exactly the kind of projects that the president is looking for, that size, that magnitude. They will start offsetting the trade deficit."
Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier that he hoped Alaska and China could also cooperate in the area of winter sports, since China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Walker said a memorandum of understanding was signed on Tuesday to begin that process.
"When President Xi asked me that when he was in Alaska, I said we will do everything we can. Today we signed an MOU on that between our university, Alaska Pacific University, who specializes in the winter sports with China to be able to train the Chinese athletes in Alaska for the 2022 Winter Olympics. So today is the day that they signed the memorandum of understanding to begin that process."
As the closest U.S. state to China geographically, Alaska attracts a large number of Chinese tourists every year.
The governor says that they are working hard to open direct flights with China.
Walker is also heading a week-long business delegation known as "Opportunity Alaska: China Trade Mission."
The delegation is scheduled to visit the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu during the trip, which began on May 19 and ends on May 26.
According to official Chinese data, China has been Alaska's largest trade partner and export destination since 2011.
Walker's office says that Alaska exported more than 1.3 billion U.S. dollars' worth of goods to China in 2017.