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Kokomo delegation to visit Chinese sister city


A small delegation of greater Kokomo representatives will travel to China next week as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with Dongyang, Kokomo’s sister city.

The delegation will include Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman and Charlie Sparks, President/CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance.

Dongyang, China, and Kokomo’s sister city partnership officially began in January 2013 when a Chinese delegation spent several days in Kokomo to officially sign the agreement at City Hall and tour the community. A Kokomo delegation returned the courtesy of a visit in October 2013.

Just as they did in the previous trip, local officials hope to develop ties between Dongyang and the greater Kokomo community by collaborating on strategies for business, education, and cultural partnerships for the betterment of both communities.

“By traveling to their region, we can strengthen our relationship with Dongyang government and business officials,” Sparks said. “Part of our mission is to discuss opportunities to attract direct foreign investment to our community.”

During a five-day stay, the delegation will tour and meet with leaders from six Chinese companies. They will also join a luncheon with commerce leaders from manufacturing, auto, medical, hospitality and other sectors.

“We are developing our relationship with Dongyang,” said Goodnight. “Both cities benefit when we collaborate to share ideas and business opportunities. Having a global connection is vital to our economy here in Kokomo and Indiana.”

Dongyang is a major producer of magnets, chemicals, plastics, garments, agriculture and wooden sculptures. It is both a city and a geographic area about 2½ times the size of Howard County, with a population of over 800,000. A city in the center of Zhejiang Province, Dongyang is part of the Yangtze River Delta Economic Region.

“Continuing to invest our time and efforts into this partnership shows we are actively embracing the global economy and working hard to bring capital, investments and ultimately jobs to our community.” Wyman said.

The delegation will leave on Dec. 4 and return Dec. 9.