INDIANAPOLIS | No job or new investment announcements so far have come out of Gov. Mike Pence's trade mission to China, which ends Saturday, but the Republican this week has renewed Indiana's existing ties to various Chinese communities and companies.
On Thursday, Pence inked an agreement to continue Indiana's sister-state relationship with Zhejiang Province, an industrial and farming region south of Shanghai on China's east coast that's home to 54.9 million people.
"By renewing this agreement today, Hoosiers unite with the people of Zhejiang Province to support educational exchanges, cultural understanding and more job-creating opportunities," Pence said.
"With the interconnected nature of our world today, it is relationships like this one that will continue to promote shared growth both in China and back at home in Indiana."
Indiana and Zhejiang first connected in 1987 under Republican Gov. Robert Orr. The Hoosier delegation and Zhejiang officials celebrated the 28th anniversary of the sister-state relationship at a Thursday night banquet hosted by Zhejiang Provincial Secretary Xia Baolong.
Also on Thursday, First Lady Karen Pence presented a selection of Indiana literature and music to Chu Shuqing, director of the public library in Hangzhou, the capital and largest city in Zhejiang.
A similar gift of Chinese materials was given to her for use at the Indianapolis Public Library.
"What an honor today has been to experience the tremendous Chinese culture through the gracious hospitality of Mr. Chu, his staff and the beautiful surroundings of the Hangzhou Public Library," she said. "It gives me great pride to continue this important relationship."
Earlier in the week, Gov. Pence led the Indiana delegation on visits to the Chinese affiliate of Columbus, Ind.-based Cummins Engine Co. and hosted a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing to show off Indiana-made recreational vehicles. They also toured the Great Wall of China.
The delegation, which includes NIPSCO President Kathleen O’Leary, is scheduled to meet Friday with workers at the Chinese research operations of Indianapolis drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., as well attend a reception for former Hoosier business executives and college students now living in China.
The group departs Shanghai for return to Indiana on Saturday.