Brewer headed to China on trade mission

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will be trying to lure Chinese manufacturing companies to the state during a weeklong trade mission to the country that begins this week.

Brewer leaves Thursday for China and will be accompanied by Arizona Commerce Authority president and CEO Sandra Watson and one of Watson's staff members, Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said. The Republican governor will visit Beijing, Shandong Province and Shanghai during the trip.

The governor is hoping to lure manufacturers to Arizona as part of her job-creation initiative that included the creation of the commerce authority in 2010. The quasi-governmental economic development agency took over the functions of the old state Department of Commerce in 2011 when the Legislature approved Brewer's plans.

The commerce authority offers incentives to businesses that relocate in the state and create jobs.

Besides meeting with companies that already have expressed interesting in coming to Arizona, Brewer also is meeting with firms that could be interested in the state, Wilder said.

"She's always valued China as a strong trade partner," Wilder said. "She continues to see this as an opportunity for Arizona."

China is Arizona's third-largest trading partner behind Mexico and Canada, with $3.6 billion in trade between the two countries last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Exports from Arizona totaled $1.08 billion, and imports from China were $2.47 billion.

Brewer has made one previous visit to China and also led a trade mission to Taiwan last year.

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