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Making deals: Chinese, NM firms do business at ABQ summit

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From left, Jian Zhu, CEO of America China Civic Exchange, Richard Buckler, first state representative of New Mexico Sister Cities, Hu Jiebao of the China Song Zhiang Arts Alliance and Pam Feather, first vice president of Albuquerque Sister Cities Foundation sign an agreement aimed at organizing events to help promote arts and culture between China and New Mexico. (Taylor Hood/Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S.-China Business Matchmaking Summit has kicked off with a bang.

The weeklong summit, which began in Albuquerque on Monday, has led to a memorandum of understanding between local aviation training school Vertical Limit and Chinese company TTFly in a deal that will see Chinese pilots-in-training coming to New Mexico for training programs.

“We hope this is the beginning of being the Chinese solution for aviation schools,” said Deborah Burns, CEO and director of investUS and co-chair of the summit.

And that was only one of several deals made so far during the summit that features meetings, seminars and networking activities for dozens of participants from New Mexican and Chinese businesses.

“There is nothing like looking someone in the eye and talking about mutual interests,” said Burns.

Burns and partner Jian Zhu set up the event at the Albuquerque Convention Center with the aim of fostering trade and business relations.

The pair brought together speakers from around the state, including Gov. Susana Martinez, Mayor Richard Berry and Garrey Carruthers, chancellor and president of New Mexico State University, among others. About 120 bilingual translators and volunteers were also brought in to help with the weeklong event.

“We are trying to partner (the Chinese) with some of the best business opportunities in New Mexico… to create win-wins for New Mexico and the Chinese,” said Burns.

Kevin Yearout, principal of Yearout Companies, came to the summit to promote his newest business, Monarch Waste Technologies. After the summit’s first day, Yearout said he had three tours of his facility lined up for Thursday.

“We are realistic on expectations, but that is three opportunities I didn’t have yesterday,” he said.

The Chinese have incentives to do business in New Mexico, said Burns, because “we have everything the Chinese want, and in many ways they have everything we want.”

According to Burns, the Chinese delegations are impressed by the friendliness of the people, the low cost of living, the lack of crowds and the similarities in business style.

Hu Jiebao, director of China Song Zhiang Art Alliance agreed. On Tuesday, he signed a memorandum of understanding between the Art Alliance, based in Bejing, and Albuquerque’s Sister City program. He said it was a “a very important document for buildingĀ  a bridge” with New Mexico.

Burns said she and Jian Zhu plan to hold the U.S.-China Business Matchmaking Summit annually for the next three years at a minimum.

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