NEW JERSEY – Zhejiang province’s economic profile has grown over the last 30 years since establishing trade relations with the state of New Jersey, said Zhao Hongzhu, Party chief of the eastern China province during a trade and investment symposium at William Paterson University on Wednesday.
Zhao spoke about the many similarities between Zhejiang and New Jersey at the symposium in Wayne, New Jersey. Both, he said, have a strong focus on pharmaceuticals, life sciences, clean energy and food processing.
Zhejiang is currently ranked among the top four Chinese provinces in terms of GDP.
“Zhejiang has a very strong private sector which contributes to 70 percent of Zhejiang’s GDP. Twenty-five of the top enterprises in China are in Zhejiang. We also have a competitive manufacturing sector,” Zhao said.
After the signing of 12 business deals in the state of Indiana, Zhao and a Chinese delegation came to New Jersey on Wednesday and Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Zhejiang-New Jersey trade agreement.
More than 125 entrepreneurs from companies in Zhejiang also attended the symposium. The 30th anniversary celebration will be held Thursday at Kean University in the city of Union.
The partnership with New Jersey has brought a high level of business activity between the two regions. More than 100 Chinese investments have been made in New Jersey, said Lt Gov Kim Guadagno.
New Jersey’s exports to China grew by more than 31 percent in 2010 to almost $1.4 billion from the previous year, according to New Jersey officials.
“This partnership has enhanced our economic relationship. I believe our sister province Zhejiang will be a key economic growth for China,” Guadagno said.
Business ties between Chinese provinces and US states are an important part of China-US relations, said Consul General Peng Keyu of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in New York. He said China and the US are more interconnected than ever before.
Bilateral trade between China and the US has surged in the last five years. China has become the third-largest export destination of the US since 2007, Peng said.
“We have every reason to believe that with the state of growth of the Chinese economy and the gradual recovery of the US economy, we are stepping onto a new stage,” he said.
Ma Yun, chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group, was one of the entrepreneurs invited to share his success story at the symposium. Born and raised in Zhejiang, he said that the province’s best asset is its people.
“I wish to say that the Zhejiang government and people understand and support the private sector. I feel very proud that Zhejiang has more entrepreneurs than other cities,” Ma said.
Chen Baohua, CEO of Huahai Pharmaceutical Co, said at the symposium that New Jersey will be the company’s trading base to launch its products globally.