INDIANAPOLIS – World Trade Center (WTC) representatives from Indianapolis and Harbin, China announced a new global trade agreement at a ceremony today presided over by Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who welcomed the Chinese delegation to the Statehouse and witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two sister trade organizations. The MOU focuses on agriculture-based trade and commercial exchanges.
Harbin is the 8th largest city in China (pop. ~ 10 million) and is the capital of China’s northernmost province, Heilongjiang. This region is known as the breadbasket of northern China, with naturally fertile soil and good ecology for agriculture, much like Indiana.
The MOU provides a formal structure for an ongoing partnership between the two trade groups. Both WTC organizations will appoint representatives to meet regularly in order to facilitate communications between businesses and universities in each location, organize trade missions and cultural exchanges, and seek out opportunities for joint ventures and investment.
“Today’s agreement marks a significant step in the work of World Trade Center – Indianapolis, serving all of Indiana,” said WTC Indianapolis Chairman Greg Zoeller. “WTC Harbin and Indianapolis share common goals with respect to agriculture and commerce, and a mutually beneficial relationship between Hoosier businesses and foreign investors, suppliers, and customers will only strengthen our statewide economy.”
“Indiana’s successful agricultural sector and technological innovation initially prompted WTC Harbin to visit and organize a functioning partnership between our cities,” said WTC Harbin Executive Director Steven Lo. “Indiana universities, corporations, and governmental officials have demonstrated an eagerness to work with their counterparts in Harbin. I believe such a relationship will benefit our respective cities, regions and nations, building a strong economic future for all.”
The World Trade Center – Harbin delegation came to Indiana this week for a two-day trade mission, which included meetings with Purdue University officials, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Indiana Commerce Secretary Jim Schellinger and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who hosted the MOU signing at the Indiana State Capitol. The group also met with several Central Indiana civic and business leaders on their first trip to the Hoosier State.
“Indiana has natural and human resources that stand out in the global marketplace,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “We are proud to welcome the World Trade Center – Harbin this week and look forward to future trade opportunities between our two regions. Governor Holcomb and this administration continue to meet with business leaders from around the world who marvel at the ingenuity and productivity of Indiana’s farmers, engineers, and scientists; it does not surprise me that our honored guests from WTC Harbin see Hoosiers as ideal trading partners.”
WTC Indianapolis was represented at the ceremony by former Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and former Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler, who serve as the chairman and president of the organization, respectively. World Trade Center – Indianapolis announced its formation in April 2017 and began offering trade services with companies across the globe. World Trade Center – Harbin formed in 2015. WTC Harbin was represented by Executive Director Steven Lo.