NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced a broad cross section of business, technology and health care leaders from Tennessee will accompany Governor Phil Bredesen and Matt Kisber, commissioner, ECD for a ten day trade mission to China beginning October 20, 2009. The Governor and the Tennessee delegation will visit the Chinese cities of Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou and Hong Kong during the trade mission.

“We began our efforts to develop trade ties with China in 2007 when we opened the Tennessee-China Development Center in Beijing,” said Governor Bredesen. “I see this trade mission as a logical follow up to that effort and we’ll be seeking to build on the success we’ve had in expanding economic and cultural ties.”

China is Tennessee’s 3rd largest trading partner, following Canada and Mexico. In 2008, Chinese customers purchased more than $1.3 billion dollars in Tennessee goods and services with chemicals and agricultural products leading exports. Among the fifty U.S. states, Tennessee ranks 13th in the value of goods and services exported to China.

“Despite the global recession, China’s appetite for Tennessee products remains strong,” said Commissioner Kisber. “We believe there are real opportunities for additional Tennessee companies to increase exports to China and we want to increase China’s knowledge about Tennessee’s business friendly economic climate.”

One of the most significant outcomes of the 2007 trade mission to China was the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Ministry of Health, creating a series of annual exchanges between experts in both China and Tennessee focused on improving delivery of health care in rural areas. Approximately 40 Chinese health care experts traveled to Tennessee in 2007 to take part in symposia at East Tennessee State University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis. Tennessee health care leaders traveled to China in early 2009.

One 2007 trade mission delegate who is returning to China on the 2009 trade mission is Memphis-based business owner Dr. Victor Omotunde, president and CEO of STF Medical & Management Group which markets hospital supplies, surgical supplies, ultrasound machines and diabetic supplies to medical practices around the world.

“I began face-to-face discussions with two Chinese companies about distribution of our products during the 2007 mission,” said Dr. Omotunde. “Today, two years later, we’re doing business in China and shipping a wide variety of products. I believe the growth potential for Tennessee companies in China is very strong.”

Taking part in the 2009 trade mission are:
Mayor Allen Barker, Humboldt, TN
Dr. Victor Omotunde, STF Medical & Management Group, Memphis, TN
Dr. John R. Lowry, Lipscomb University, College of Business, Nashville, TN
Steven Bares, PhD, Memphis Bioworks, Memphis, TN
Christopher Sloan, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville, TN
Ling Guan, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville, TN
Sandy Dickey, FedEx, Memphis, TN
John Scannapieco, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville, TN
Jim Murphy, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, Nashville, TN
Dena Scearce, Medtronic, Inc, Memphis, TN
Michelle Haynes, Haynes Realtors, Gallatin, TN
Dr. Ming Wang, Wang Vision Institute, Nashville, TN
Chris Schmid, V. Alexander & Co., Nashville, TN
David Stewart, Gresham, Smith & Partners, Nashville, TN
Howard (Butch) Eley, Infrastructure Corporation of America, Brentwood, TN
David Marks, Tower Investments, LLC, Nashville, TN
Brian Eftink, Miller & Martin, PLLC, Chattanooga, TN
Billy Stair, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN
Scott R. Mertie, Kraft Healthcare Consulting, Nashville, TN
Jonathan Uttz, Psychiatric Solutions, Inc, Franklin, TN
Steve McMonigle, Universal Services, Tianjin, China
Caroline Young, Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville, TN
Dr. L. Diane Miller, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, Tennessee General Assembly, Ripley, TN
June Chen, TRO Jung Brannen & AHS International Design, Memphis, TN
Aubrey Preston, private investor, Leiper’s Fork, TN
Alex Marks, Tower Investments, LLC, Nashville, TN
Thomas Cigarran, Healthways, Inc, Brentwood, TN
David Osborn, Nashville Medical Trade Center, Nashville, TN