TenHaken: Strengthening U.S.‑China relations starts at the local level

Nov. 25, 2019

Mayor Paul TenHaken is back from a trip to China aimed at promoting business partnerships and building relationships.

The mayor joined three other mayors in a delegation trip with the U.S. Heartland China Association. Through conversations at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, government leaders in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shenzhen, and numerous private business tours, TenHaken said he was able to discuss the unique advantages of Sioux Falls and why the city should be considered by the Chinese for business expansion.

“For many of those I met, this was their first introduction to Sioux Falls,” TenHaken said in a statement released about the visit.

“The message from the delegation and me was that the workforce and innovation needed for business and cultural relationship success lives in the U.S. heartland. I accomplished my goal of strengthening relationships with Chinese municipalities and promoting business partnerships with Midwest communities.”

TenHaken said he had several key takeaways from the trip:

Trade tensions

“Every business I talked with — from drone manufacturers to poultry processors — discussed their desire to see a swift end to these trade tensions,” he said. “For South Dakota, our agricultural community has felt this impact more than any other population. The sooner it is resolved, the better it will be for the Sioux Falls and South Dakota economies. I know our federal delegation is working very diligently on this matter, and I am confident in a timely resolution.”

Relationship opportunities

Both the city leaders of Guangzhou and Shenzhen — with populations of 20 million each — expressed interest in forming government partnership between Sioux Falls and one of their city districts, TenHaken said.

“These relationships are critical first steps in establishing both trust and economic partnerships between our communities. One of our largest employers — Smithfield Foods — is owned by a Chinese parent company, and my office has had several other discussions with business development opportunities that have Chinese ownership ties. The Sioux Falls economy would strengthen via stronger cultural and business relations with key Chinese partners.”

Open to partnerships

In each community, TenHaken said he was welcomed with warmth and gratitude from  municipal and business leaders.

“They are hungry for relationships, partnerships, cultural exchanges and collaboration that could benefit both countries. It was also clear that for the Chinese relationships come first and business comes second,” he said. “Forming these friendships and partnerships with key Chinese allies is the first step toward more economic opportunities.”

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TenHaken: Strengthening U.S.‑China relations starts at the local level

Mayor Paul TenHaken is back from a trip to China aimed at promoting business partnerships. Here are his key takeaways.

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