WASHINGTON—A delegation of six state and territorial governors are headed to Beijing, China, next week to participate in the second U.S.-China Governors Forum (Forum). Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, immediate past chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), will lead the delegation that includes Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue and Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Benigno Fitial.

The Forum was established to strengthen a subnational dialogue between the two countries and will be co-convened by NGA and the Chinese People’s Associations for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The Forum serves as a platform to promote peer-to-peer discussions between U.S. governors and Chinese provincial leaders about topics of mutual interest and to explore opportunities in promoting practical cooperation between the two sides.

“If we want to see job and economic growth at home, we know we have to work closely with our international partners where economies are still thriving,” Gregoire said. “The U.S.-China Governors Forum provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss job creation and develop new economic opportunities that benefit us all for the future. The breadth of those opportunities should capture not only traditional business-to-business relationships, but also travel, tourism and cultural exchanges.

“Strong bilateral relationships among the U.S. and China also support a more predictable market environment where access to capital is strong, workforces are skilled and educated and regulatory and business processes are generally transparent,” Gregoire continued. “Many governors have been on trade missions to China to examine opportunities to increase trade and investments to their states – both activities designed to create jobs.”

The Forum will focus on economic development and job creation. U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is expected to host a reception for the governors.

Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi signed a Memorandum of Understanding supporting the establishment of a U.S.-China Governors Forum. The first Forum was held during the NGA Annual Meeting in Utah last July. NGA Corporate Fellows Coca-Cola Company, FMC and Walmart are helping to sponsor the delegation.

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Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s, most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 50 states, three territories and two commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit www.nga.org.