SAN FRANCISCO, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Businesses in Anchorage, the most populous city of the U.S. northwestern state of Alaska, are eager to explore more business opportunities in China, a business leader said Tuesday.
Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), who will be part of a trade mission delegation headed by Alaska Governor Bill Walker to China later this month, told a local TV news outlet that the delegation members are excited to establish links with Chinese businesses for more trade opportunities.
"AEDC is going along on this delegation to help promote opportunities for investment within Anchorage, as well as export opportunities," he said.
Walker is going to travel with his delegation to China on May 19 to promote Alaska's vast natural resources, including energy and seafood, along with small businesses and tourism.
"When we look at investment opportunities, they tend to center quite a bit around the airport, logistics-based businesses that might be distributing products globally from Anchorage International Airport...nationally from Anchorage International Airport," he said.
As for tourism, he said, "we are very excited about helping our friends from Visit Anchorage, who are also going on the delegation, and supporting their efforts to attract new Chinese visitors in our visitor season, plus in the off-season."
Visit Anchorage is a local agency dedicated to serving visitors to Anchorage and sharing the best outdoor activities, cultural attractions, entertainment, cuisine and accommodations in Alaska.
"Chinese love to come to Alaska in the winter time. We've been seeing a big increase in Chinese tourists going to Fairbanks, and we think Anchorage offers opportunity for that also," Popp said.
The AEDC CEO said the delegation members will also look at opportunities to help promote exports out of Anchorage, namely copper and sea foods, which have large facilities in Anchorage.
"We are traveling to a number of different cities within China. And it's going to be a very, very busy trip," he said.
He also said that his colleagues are still working on the appointments. "We have a very large wish list of companies we are likely to meet there in different cities."
"We're hoping for at least a dozen meetings of significance and several other opportunities of chance" during the China trip, Popp said.
Walker announced in March that he would lead a trade delegation to China to strengthen Alaska's business ties with the world's second-largest economy.
Walker's office said that China has been the top consumer of Alaskan goods since 2011.
Statistics show that Alaska exported 1.32 billion U.S. dollars' worth of goods, including 796.2 million dollars' worth of seafood and 64.6 million dollars' worth of fishmeal to China last year, which created thousands of jobs for local fishermen.
Alaska also exported 355.8 million dollars' worth of mineral ore, 49 million dollars' worth of energy, and 48 million dollars' and 5.9 million dollars' worth of forest products and machinery, respectively.