Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will visit China next month, leading a delegation of business and civic leaders looking for partnership opportunities in areas such as education and biotechnology.
While final details are still being worked out, Leggett’s group is scheduled to visit Beijing, Shanghai, Benxi and Xi’an, the county’s newest “sister city.” The trip, set for Sept. 15-25, has been jointly organized by the county, the Maryland China Business Council and the state of Maryland’s trade and investment office in Shanghai, which will help with roundtables and other contacts.
The Chinese investment footprint in Montgomery is small, but it’s one that officials would like to expand.
“We are visitors from Montgomery County interested in finding the right partners and learning about market opportunities to advance business ties,” said Lily Qi, a Leggett aide for special projects.
Leggett is scheduled to host a reception for the business community in Shanghai. The group will also visit the Zhangjiang biotech and pharmaceutical park, known as “Drug Valley.” In Benxi, a city in the northeast near the provincial capital of Shenyang, the delegation will learn about the massive medical complex planned by the central government called “China Medicine Capital.”
In Xi’an, one of the country’s oldest cities, Leggett will finalize the county’s newest sister city agreement to foster cultural understanding and trade. Xi’an joins Gondar, Ethiopia and Morazan, El Salvador. Xi’an No. 1 Middle School, which is actually a high school, will also partner with the county’s Winston Churchill High School in Potomac.
According to a draft itinerary, some of the county delegation will attend a Beijing dinner hosted by the China Fortune Land Development, a company that invests in industrial parks and residential real estate.
It won’t be all business. In Beijing, for example, the schedule includes touristy options such as “The Legend of Kung Fu Show.” In Xi’an there is the “Imperial Dumpling Dinner with Tang Dynasty Show.”
A full list of the delegation is not yet available. It includes Elaine Amir, executive director of Johns Hopkins’ Montgomery campus, Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr and two County Council members, Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) and Hans Riemer (D-At Large). All delegation members are paying their own way, county officials said.