Governor Dennis Daugaard is on his third trip to China to develop business contacts and spark economic development. This time, he took nine South Dakota companies with him to form relationships with Chinese Companies.
On the other side of the world, Governor Dennis Daugaard is trying to convince companies to create trade relationships with South Dakota. Five days in, one deal has been made.
"Since we've been in China, one of our companies has struck a deal for a half a million dollars of product. We are pleased about that. That was quicker than we expected. Although that was a relationship that had been developed within our three years coming to China," said South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.
Daugaard says he won't talk about the details yet, but he is talking about why he wants trade internationally, especially with Mongolia.
"It has many similarities with South Dakota. It's about six times as large with 25 Million people, but it's largely rural and an agriculture based economy," said Daugaard.
The other nine businesses traveling with the governor, like Advanced Sunflower of Huron, are also having one-on-one meetings with International companies.
"If we do establish relationships, they would send their governor and business officials to South Dakota, like we are doing in China," said Daugaard.
But the trip isn’t just about trade. It’s also about educational exchange.
A representative with South Dakota State University is encouraging Chinese students to enroll in the state’s universities. They are promoting two years of online classes and another two years on South Dakota soil.
"There are some cutting-edge programs we offer that are not available in China or only offered at a few elite universities. It's a very large population with very high-tech needs for the future. They need that high-tech education that they can get in South Dakota," said South Dakota State University Assistant Vice President of International Affairs, Kathleen Fairfax.
Governor Dennis Daugaard met up with some South Dakota State University students who were already in China. The seven day trip will cost the state around $93,000.