by Senator Mike Dmitrich
Senate Minority Leader
Senate District 27
As you are probably aware, I just returned from a legislative trip to the Liaoning Province, Utah’s sister state, located in northeastern China. Below is a brief synopsis of many hours spent with government officials in China.
I would like to compliment Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble on his exemplary conduct in leading our legislative delegation. Without exception, Senator Bramble made a conscientious effort to include all members of the delegation, both Republicans and Democrats, in all presentations made to the Chinese officials. We owe him a big thank you for his efforts.
China is a rapidly developing nation with great resources and needs. Utah, particularly rural Utah, can benefit from the relationship we are building with China’s Liaoning Province. Utah’s expertise in technologies for safely and cleanly using our natural resources, as well as our educational and cultural resources, can greatly benefit Liaoning Province while helping Utah to succeed in today’s world economy.
Liaoning is rich in natural resources, just like rural Utah. Unlike rural Utah, though, the Chinese have struggled to make advances in mining, exploration, and extraction technologies. Also, they have not made great strides in mine safety as we have. During my visit, I was able to discuss these concerns with leaders in the Liaoning Province, and I am confident Utah can export its expertise and mine safety equipment to China to help decrease the number of mining deaths in their province. The provincial officials also discussed other mutually beneficial partnerships, like coal gasification, utilization of coal-bed methane, and uranium mining.
We also met with educational leaders and discussed possible cooperation with educational exchanges. At Liaoning University, we saw a modern university with a strong desire for educational partnerships in America. The Chinese are building universities at a startling pace, trying to move their economy from low-skilled manufacturing jobs to higher skilled ones. As other countries like Vietnam become more competitive in low-skilled manufacturing, this is increasingly important for China. Many of their students study in the United States, which gives us the opportunity to influence China’s future leaders and encourage political reforms we hope will accompany China’s economic growth.
Other visits were to high-tech parks and manufacturing facilities. These are modern facilities with a young and diligent workforce. These industries are growing quickly and attracting more and more workers. There are many opportunities for foreign investment and for understanding the characteristics that make China such an attractive place to do business.
In our meetings with government leaders at the city, provincial, and even national level, we learned that China needs the resources of states like Utah to continue its economic reforms. These visits help foster the cooperative environment that can lead to genuine reform in China, both economically and politically. Utah has talent and ingenuity ready to be shipped around the world in the form of people and products. These people and products can benefit China and Utah simultaneously. This is what we discovered in our meetings in China as we built relationships to cooperatively move forward in our shrinking world.