Governor Chris Christie and Lt. Governor Guadagno recently hosted Secretary Zhao Hongzhu and a Zhejiang Province delegation for two days of events as part of the 30th Anniversary of the signing of the New Jersey-Zhejiang Province Sister-State Agreement. To celebrate this milestone, both states yesterday co-hosted a trade and investment business-to-business symposium at William Patterson University in Passaic County. The Symposium included a plenary session, with remarks by the Lt. Governor and Secretary Zhao, followed by direct bilateral business-to-business sessions for companies.
The Christie Administration hosted a welcome luncheon at Kean University for Secretary Zhao and the visiting dignitaries. The luncheon was followed by the 30th Anniversary Celebration Ceremony for the re-dedication of the State-Province Agreement between New Jersey and the Province of Zhejiang, during which Governor Christie signed a proclamation marking July 21, 2011 “Zhejiang Day” in New Jersey.
“It is an honor to welcome Secretary Zhao and his delegation to New Jersey. Zhejiang Province is home to thousands of flagship Chinese and multinational companies and its industrial strengths are similar to the strengths in New Jersey”, said Governor Christie. “The re-dedication of our Memorandum of Understanding will help further link foreign business to our region and provide new growth opportunities for our businesses and universities.”
The original Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by Governor Brendon Byrne in May 1981 to support bilateral trade and link foreign businesses to our region and provide outreach opportunities for New Jersey-based companies to spur business growth. The re-dedication of the MOU, to be signed today between the State of New Jersey and the Province of Zhejiang, strengthens the efforts to pursue common goals in relation to developing economic relations, encouraging industrial innovation and fostering cultural and educational exchanges and collaborations.
“This ongoing and healthy relationship between our states will expand New Jersey’s ability to create jobs and revenue through global trade and build our ties with the Zhejiang Province and the larger Chinese market overall,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno, who also serves as Secretary of State. “Through these efforts to promote cooperation and encourage cultural and educational exchanges, New Jersey will be in an even better position to attract foreign direct investment to the state and increase export opportunities for our companies.”
In total, the new MOUs represent more than one billion dollars of new investment in the State of New Jersey, including a Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement between EffiSolar Energy LLC, and Zhejiang Guoguang Science Technology Co., Ltd., to build a solar power station in New Jersey. The investment stands to bring approximately 100 permanent jobs and at least 1,500 construction jobs to New Jersey.
The original agreement has afforded New Jersey’s universities with opportunities to establish educational ties. Zhejiang universities have enjoyed sister-university agreements with Kean University since 1998 and with William Paterson University since 2004. These agreements are for a number of joint-degree programs and student and faculty exchange programs, and have generated significant investment into the institutions. The two universities will also sign agreements today at the ceremony. Kean University will enter an agreement with Hangzhou Normal University for a faculty and student exchange, while William Paterson University and the University of Technology will sign an agreement to establish the Zhejiang University of Technology Overseas Students Training Center at William Paterson University.
New Jersey and China have historically benefited from a strong trade and investment relationship. In 2010, New Jersey’s exports to China grew by 31 percent, making it the State’s seventh largest trading partner. For the past decade, China has been the number one trading partner for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, providing about 30 percent of the Port’s traffic volume. Additionally, more than 100 Chinese companies are located in New Jersey, including top-tier Fortune Global 500 entities such as the China Ocean Shipping Co. America Inc. (COSCO), Minmetals, Inc., China Construction and Bao Steel. Furthermore, New Jersey is home to two Zhejiang pharmaceutical companies that are invested in New Jersey – Huahai Pharma and Hisun Parma.