|Updated: 4/03/2012 5:54 pm
||Published: 4/03/2012 3:19 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Mike Beebe leaves for China Wednesday, and he hopes to bring new jobs back to Arkansas with him.
"We hope that we can establish dialog that ends up being fruitful to create Chinese investment in Arkansas and create more jobs for Arkansans," said the governor at a Tuesday morning press conference.
Specifically, Beebe says he'll make the almost 7000 mile trip to China in search of manufacturing opportunities.
"What I'd like to see happen is actual investment in a relatively short period of time," he said, "but I'm not naive and recognize that sometimes when you plant the seeds it takes a little longer for them to come up."
Some trip highlights include a visit to a Beijing Walmart on Saturday, a visit to the Great Wall on Sunday, and meetings with Chinese officials scheduled throughout the 12-day trip. The governor says he's not pushing for new jobs in any specific part of Arkansas; that will be up to the Chinese companies.
"We'd never put Fort Smith over Little Rock or Fayetteville over Jonesboro or El Dorado over Blytheville or anything like that. We will pursue and make available every community that we have."
The trip is expected to cost around $128,000, including airfare, lodging, and transportation. That's a risk the governor says is worth taking.
"There's always a risk that you won't be successful. That has to be taken into consideration on the front end, but you know I'm always ever the optimist so we'll see."
Governor Beebe is scheduled to return to Arkansas on April 16th. Of the roughly $128,000 the trip is expected to cost, about $100,000 will come from state funds.