Wabash, IN (August 20, 2018) – A delegation of Wabash County business and community leaders are preparing for a new Asian trade-mission, the group announced today. The trade mission will be the first of its kind led by Wabash-area community leaders and will take place in late fall 2018.
The delegation, led by City of Wabash Mayor Scott Long, and supported by business and community leaders representing the Honeywell Foundation, Grow Wabash County, Wabash City Schools, the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, and local businesses with significant international experience will be visiting Japan and China during the trip. “Taking part in a trade mission such as this has been a key focus of my administration as we’ve worked with Grow Wabash County and our business and community leaders to lay the groundwork for new opportunities for the City and our greater Wabash County community,” said Mayor Scott Long. “This strategy has been successful in a number of communities around the state, and with our great business climate here in Indiana and the foreign investment that we have already in Wabash County I felt the time was right to take this bold step.”
While in Japan, the delegation will be conducting business development visits with companies that Grow Wabash County and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, with assistance from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation have identified as having potential for expansion opportunities in Wabash County, as well as exploring opportunities for educational collaborations within Wabash County. Additionally, the delegation will be visiting the headquarters for Oji Intertech, a valued North Manchester employer with a Japanese parent company. “Visiting the headquarters for Japanese companies is a very important step in solidifying your relationship with them,” said Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County. “Oji Intertech has been a great employer in Wabash County, and we are thrilled that Rick Sereno, President of Oji Intertech in North Manchester will be joining us for our visit with Oji Holdings.”
The second leg of the trip will bring the group to China, where the City of Wabash has been working with an experienced consultant to explore fostering a sister-city relationship with Linhai City, China. Linhai City is a suburb of Taizhou, China, and is in Zhejiang Province. “Our consultant connected us with Linhai City as they had expressed interest in setting up a sister-city relationship with a city in Indiana, as Taizhou is the sister-city of Fort Wayne, and Zhejiang is a sister province to the state of Indiana,” Long said.
The delegation will first meet with provincial level governmental and trade officials in Hangzhou, the capital of the province. They will then proceed to Linhai City, where they will spend several days meeting with local officials and touring various aspects of the community. The focus for the meetings will be on fostering economic development, education, and arts and cultural relationships. The week will conclude with the two communities signing an official Memorandum of Understanding to establish “friendly and cooperative relations” between the two cities, which is the first step to setting up a formal sister-city relationship.
“We expect to host a delegation from Linhai City here in Wabash in the near future for them to see and experience all we have to offer in Wabash County,” Long said. “We know that this is the first of many steps to cement our relationship with Linhai City, but this groundwork is necessary if we want to pursue the many opportunities that having a sister-city relationship with a Chinese city can bring.” The delegation aims to create future opportunities for Chinese companies to invest into Wabash County, for educational exchanges between Chinese schools and those in our community, and for arts and cultural partnerships and tourism investments into Wabash County. The delegation also is targeting creating opportunities in the Chinese market for Wabash County companies to export locally made goods to support the investments that are already in Wabash.
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