Chinese visit Marshall on trade mission

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert speaks to a trade delegation from the Embassy of China at the Robert C. Byrd Institute. In a deal signed while President Trump was in China, officials announced a memorandum of understanding through the China Energy Investment Corp. to invest $83.7 billion in West Virginia to develop shale gas and chemical manufacturing infrastructure over the next 20 years. (Photo Provided)

HUNTINGTON — A Chinese trade delegation traveling in West Virginia last week toured the Marshall University and the Robert C. Byrd Institute as part of a four day relationship-building mission to West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice last month announced the Chinese have signed a memorandum of understanding to invest up to $83.7 billion in West Virginia. China Energy Investment Corp. plans to develop shale gas and chemical manufacturing infrastructure in West Virginia during the next two decades.

Officials from the Chinese embassy led by Deyou Tian, economic and commerce minister counselor, learned how the institute assists manufacturers and saw demonstrations of computer-controlled machining equipment and large-scale and metal 3D printing.

“This visit is another important step in demonstrating the high-tech resources that RCBI and Marshall University provide industry,” said Charlotte Weber, director and CEO of the institute. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to showcase our services and demonstrate how we can help provide a trained, productive workforce to Chinese leaders in preparation of China’s recently announced multi-billion dollar investment in our state.”

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert and John Maher, vice president for research, joined the delegation’s visit and explained how Marshall University promotes statewide economic development.

Since the governor’s announcement, representatives of China Energy Investment Corp. and individuals from various Chinese industrial sectors have been traveling West Virginia, meeting with state officials and economic development groups.

None of the Chinese delegation from Thursday’s visit had been to West Virginia until this week, but expressed high praise for the Mountain State and its people.

“I am very impressed with this state,” said Qing Li, second secretary of the Embassy of China. “The people are so hospitable!”