Chinese delegation eyes investment opportunities in the Rose City

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Witer
Norwich - posted Tue., Apr. 26, 2011
Zhu Weiping (left), head of economic construction for the Wuxi (China) Binhu district, presents a Chinese artifact to Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom. Photo courtesy of the City of Norwich MSI department. - Contributed Photo

A delegation from Norwich's sister city in China, Wuxi, spent some time in the Rose City last week, and already some interest in investing here has been sparked.

“We had a nibble the very next morning,” said Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom. One of the delegation members called to inquire about a specific business opportunity they'd heard about during a working lunch with local municipal and business representatives, he said.

The 16-member delegation from Wuxi, which spent two weeks in the U.S., took the initiative in asking for the Norwich meeting, said Nystrom. “They asked about a working lunch with us. They invited themselves,” he said.

During the luncheon at City Hall, Rotary Club members and other locals presented a variety of specific projects currently on the drawing board that could become reality through the investment of overseas funds.

Among the prime contenders is a 40-acre parcel on Shipping Street in Thamesville that Nystrom calls “ripe for development.” A former industrial complex that currently houses a Farmers' Almanac warehouse, it has ready access to rail, water and road, he said.

The Rotary Club also gave a presentation on pump manufacturer Devine Hydraulics' proposed relocation to the Norwich Industrial Park.

City officials and members of the business community are also hoping to attract investment in such projects as a botanical garden at Mohegan Park and an electric car conversion facility at the former Turner-Stanton Mill in Norwichtown.

By tapping into federal immigration laws, which encourage foreign investment by offering conditional green cards in exchange for development funds, officials hope to boost the local economy and jump-start job creation.

Nystrom said that former state Rep. Rob Simmons will take a translated CD containing the investment presentations over to Wuxi on his trip there next month. Simmons is making a personal trip but also traveling on Norwich's behalf.

“That's what's really important – keeping up the dialogue,” Nystrom said. “We have to establish real communication and contact, at the same time marketing our city with our investment opportunities.”

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