Mayor's China trip could pay off - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Mayor's China trip could pay off

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Toledo Mayor Mike Bell is back from China where he worked to  promote investment in the Glass City.

These trips to China have caused some criticism but Mayor Bell is convinced becoming an international player will create jobs and fuel economic growth for decades to come.


"To do absolutely nothing you get absolutely nothing." Bell said.

Mayor Mike Bell knows to improve Toledo's economy he has to do something, and he decided that means opening Toledo to foreign investment.

He's just back from his fourth trip to China and believes he's developed relationships that will pay off for his city.

The mayor told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "Some of these people deal with the automobile industry, they deal with pharmaceuticals they deal with being able to ship things back and forth."

Chinese companies need a skilled workforce and ways to ship products around America.

They see Toledo as a great spot for that, but the Chinese are also looking at labor costs. So part of the mayor's work includes convincing the Chinese and local unions that both sides can benefit from new investment. 

 Bell said, "It's about being able to have them build their manufacturing facilities here so we can put US workers to work using their skills, but the US work in this area has to be prepared to be flexible, too."

Part of getting Chinese businesses to Toledo is working out cooperative agreements.

The mayor signed a deal with a Chinese city to work to together to create economic development between the two towns.

Mayor Bell does not want to poach jobs from another American city; he wants create new investment and jobs and knows he's not alone.  The mayor insists larger cities know what he's doing, saying, "I know that internationally I'm competing against San Francisco, Chicago, New York, and now they're sitting there going, we're competing against Toledo."  

Twenty business leaders from Toledo went along on this five-city, eight-day trip.  They were looking for business opportunities and partnerships that could work for both countries.

These trips have already paid off with millions of dollars of Toledo property being sold to Chinese investors and Mayor Bell expects to announce new investments very soon.

His next international business trip will be to Germany, in April.

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