Officials In South Texas Looking At China For New Factories And Jobs

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Officials with the McAllen Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) will soon take a second tour of China to look for new partnership opportunities in that country.

Keith Patridge, president and chief executive officer of the MEDC, said they hope to a land Chinese manufacturing plant during the upcoming trip. Patridge and other officials will again be traveling to the city of Shenzhen, China, from Oct. 7-13.

“Because of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, because of the tariffs issue, because of the size of the market here, they [Chinese manufacturers] are saying, we need to be in North America. So, the question then is, where?,” Patridge said during an interview with KEDT-FM radio.

An earlier delegation that included Patridge and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, visited Shanghai and Shenzhen July 13-22.

Chinese manufacturing firms expressed interest in opening plants along the U.S.-Mexico border region because many products are aimed at Americans consumers, according to Patridge.

“[Chinese officials] want to know specifics on how to set up operations in the [Rio Grande Valley],” Patridge said during the radio interview.

McAllen, a city of 150,000 people, is located at the southern tip of Texas and sits just a few miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. 

McAllen’s sister city is Reynosa, directly across the Texas-Mexico border, which has a population of more than 600,000 people.

Reynosa is home to around 150 foreign factories that employ more than 130,000 people, according to Mexico’s National Council of Maquilas and Export Manufacturing

During the first trip to China, McAllen officials spoke with Chinese battery manufacturers and car makers about relocating to McAllen or Reynosa. Patridge said they were also invited by Chinese officials to make a presentation at a logistics and supply chain association trade show in Shenzhen.

“They said we have this show every year and we really think it is important you talk about what you have to offer, the border with Mexico, to our membership. And so we will be talking to about 1,800 companies when we go over there,” Patridge said in an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian.

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