China Hub

trains, freight trains
(Flicker)

Civic and business leaders say the St. Louis region has to be ready to capitalize on an expected increase in freight across the United States.

It was the topic of conversation at the St. Louis Regional Transportation Forum on Thursday in Collinsville.

"St. Louis stands in a very good position to expand its capabilities, expand our economy and expand our jobs in the St. Louis region," said John Nations, president and CEO of the Bi-State Development Agency/Metro.

(Courtesy Asian American Chamber of Commerce)

The Asian American Chamber of Commerce is a relatively recent addition to the St. Louis business scene. The organization's founders, Johnny Wang and Alexander Lee, created the chamber two years ago in the wake of efforts to create a China Hub at Lambert International Airport.

In the process of their work for the China Hub, Wang and Lee realized St. Louis didn't have an organization dedicated to promoting Asian American businesses and decided to form the Asian American Chamber of Commerce (AACC).

Jason Van Eaton, Kit Bond Strategies

Earlier this month, Missouri and St. Louis-area leaders wrapped up a trade mission to China.  The trip was designed, in part, to revive the so-called China Hub project.

Members of the Midwest-China Hub Commission and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics signed an agreement in Shanghai to pursue expanding trade between the U.S. and China, and in particular adding new airfreight routes between the Asian nation and St. Louis. 

Jason Van Eaton, Kit Bond Strategies

Missouri and St. Louis-area leaders are wrapping up a trade mission to China this week designed to revive the so-called China Hub project.

via Flickr/J_D_R

Missouri exports are growing at a record-setting pace this year and trade with markets in Asia is up more than 24 percent this year alone.

Tim Nowak, executive director of World Trade Center St. Louis, said low paying manufacturing jobs in Asia have created a consumer market for Missouri products.

Nowak said that, in turn, translates to jobs in St. Louis.  

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

An Illinois Congressman and US transportation officials are talking up a Granite City river port to a Chinese delegation exploring new trade routes to the American market.

Congressman Jerry Costello touted the access America's Central Port has to railroads and highways during a visit from China's Vice Minister of Maritime Affairs, Xu Zuyuan.

Costello said a harbor to be completed next year will give a strategic advantage in moving imports and exports.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

While in the St. Louis region Tuesday for a press conference on the Share the Harvest program (which you can learn more about below) Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon called his trade trip to China productive - however, he had little to say about whether he wants to renew efforts to get tax credits for a China hub.

The Democrat said his week-long trip resulted in $4.6 billion in export agreements between Missouri and China.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Mayor Francis Slay is fuming over the results of the just-concluded special session.

"Goodbye state legislators. Thanks for (almost) nothing," the mayor tweeted this afternoon, a day after the state Senate adjourned without taking action on a large economic development package and a measure that would end more than 150 years of state oversight of the St. Louis police department.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In August, Gov. Jay Nixon, with much fanfare, called for a special session of the Missouri General Assembly.

So, what's the top priority for everyone? A package of tax credits affectionately known as "Aerotropolis," which would provide incentives for the creation of a hub for Chinese cargo at Lambert Airport.

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)

Updated 5:32 p.m. with reaction from the Mo. House Speaker

A measure that sharply reduces the amount of tax credits available to support the creation of an international cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is in the hands of the Missouri House.

The State Senate approved the measure this morning.

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