By JEFF KAROUB
DETROIT (AP) – Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday it’s important to talk trade with Chinese officials despite some GOP presidential hopefuls blaming China for the recent tumble of U.S. stocks.
Snyder told The Associated Press by phone from China that stock market gyrations on both sides of the Pacific show the nations’ economies are “tied together in some fashion.” He’s on his fifth trade trip to the nation, where he’s making the case for Chinese companies to expand in Michigan.
Some Republican presidential candidates including front-runner Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have called on President Barack Obama to cancel a planned state visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Snyder said he’s “not going to comment on their comments,” but he sees the value of continuing “to build strong ties and bonds.”
“With the slowdown in their economy, you can see the effect on the U.S. economy,” he said. “It’s good if their economy doesn’t do too badly.”
After some gut-wrenching losses, China’s main stock index surged Thursday, which has led U.S. and world markets higher and given investors some relief.
Snyder said the day-to-day ups and downs haven’t affected his conversations, since consumer demand remains strong in China for cars and other goods and there are still “good, long-term business opportunities.” He adds officials are making progress on agreements between Michigan and Chinese business and government officials.
Snyder said officials this week “celebrated” the plan announced earlier this year by Chinese supplier YFS Automotive Systems Inc. to build a facility in Detroit. He met with YFS officials during his 2014 trade mission to China, and he expects more companies soon will make similar announcements.
“I’ve got others, but I can’t give names yet,” he said.
Snyder added there is significant interest among Chinese officials about the recent opening of a simulated city that will be used to test driverless and connected vehicles at the University of Michigan. Leaders say the site will accelerate the development of driverless technology.
“It helps communicate the message that we do have the bulk of intelligent vehicle development,” he said. “One thing that gets Chinese automotive companies’ attention is when we tell them that 75 percent or more of automotive research and development happens in Michigan.”
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