Visiting China and climbing the Great Wall this month. Zipping down the Mighty Mississippi on a personal watercraft next month. Even though Gov. Jesse Ventura's travel plans for June and July will make for ripe political pickings come fall, we applaud his big, bold, out-of-the-box efforts to promote this great state.
This week the governor is in the midst of what should be his administration's crowning economic achievement. He and about 100 other Minnesota delegates are visiting China on an eight-day trade mission. It is the biggest trade mission any state has made to the world's most populous country.
Critics, especially those running for office, will likely pick the trip apart for everything from its estimated $192,000 price tag to Ventura's plan not to discuss human rights while in China. But what you probably won't hear them mention are these statistics:
--Last year, China was the state's fourth-largest export market, with sales of $619 million, an increase of about 14 percent from the previous year.
--Between 1990 and 1998, before Ventura took office, China went from the state's 11th-largest trading partner to fifth.
--China's economy is growing at a rate of 9 percent a year.
--As part of its recent admission into the World Trade Organization, China could increase imports of soybeans, wheat and corn by 30 percent, 54 percent and 400 percent this year, according to a new federal study. Those are three of Minnesota's top four crops.
Clearly, China offers a huge potential market, not just for Minnesota, but for every global entrepreneur. Ventura's efforts should be seen as making sure Minnesota is a leader in tapping that market. ...
-- St. Cloud Times
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.