HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer, fresh off a two-week trip to China, said Tuesday that he envisions that nation buying a lot more Montana products in the coming years.
Schweitzer returned this past weekend from a trip to China where he was a keynote speaker at a conference in Beijing on coal technologies. But he also travelled to several other states and cities in that country, meeting with government leaders and businessman.
Schweitzer said there will be a big demand for Montana beef exports to that country once U.S. officials can sort out a trade agreement covering that product. And he said exports of copper, other metals, and wheat will continue to grow as China continues to grow economically.
The governor said that although China also uses a lot of coal, the nation has large reserves and won’t be among the Asian nations projected to buy increasing amounts of Montana coal.
The governor said Montana is close enough to Pacific ports to take advantage of the growing Asian market on the exports. He said wheat demand in China will continue to grow as the country’s burgeoning middle class places more demand on food products.
“We are uniquely situated in the world to be a purveyor of natural resources to China,” Schweitzer said. “Either we sell more in China or we are not competitive in the place where you need to sell.
“They are going to be a large purchaser of things we do well in Montana for a long time to come.”
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