HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU
FRANKFORT — Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is joining four other secretaries of state on an economic development trip to China.
The trip, which started May 30 and runs through June 7, is being coordinated and completely funded by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
Grimes said in a release that she is working to advance Kentucky’s economic development efforts by providing information about Kentucky, its business climate and economic development opportunities in the state.
The American delegation will spend time in several cities in China and meet with various government and business officials.
“Since taking office in 2012, I’ve worked with our General Assembly to update our laws and expand our online business services so that Kentucky truly is open for business,” said Grimes. “Encouraging businesses to make Kentucky their home and growing our economy is the next step.”
China ranks as Kentucky’s fifth largest export partner, with more than $1.6 billion of Kentucky exports in 2014. The aerospace industry accounted for more than 40 percent of total Kentucky exports to China last year.
Several Kentucky companies, including Lexmark, KFC/Yum! Brands, Brown Forman and Ashland Oil, have offices in China.
Ahead of the trip, Grimes visited Birtley Industrial Equipment Corporation’s Lexington headquarters. Birtley, a manufacturer of advanced coal preparation products, was the first Chinese manufacturer to locate in Kentucky, investing approximately $10 million and creating as many as 50 new full-time jobs.