Shutdown Delays China Symposium

Dothan, AL - The partial government shutdown is forcing leaders to postpone the U.S. - China Manufacturing Symposium in Dothan.

Close to 300 Chinese manufacturing leaders were set to be in the circle city on November 10-12.

However, Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz said they simply can't get their visas approved in time, but that doesn't mean the symposium is off.

Tuesday, the CEO of Sozo Group met with Schmitz to discuss solutions.

As of now, Schmitz said they are still planning to have an event on November 11th, but no manufacturing leaders will be there.

During this event, speakers, sponsors, and their employees will prepare for the symposium and discuss what they hope to accomplish.

Schmitz says the symposium could possibly be moved from November to February. Right now Schmitz is trying to set a specific date.

He hopes this extra time will make the symposium bigger and better.

Schmitz doesn't expect the delay to hurt the area's chance of growing the economy.

“It just impacts the opportunities we have. I'll be in china for the next ten days and talk to most of them. We have some serious manufacturing companies interested in our community and the region. It may slow it down for 60 days, but we'll be alright,” said Schmitz.

Even if congress reached an agreement in the next few days, Schmitz said there wouldn't be enough time to process all the visas.

Schmitz leaves for China next week. During his trip, he will go to an investment summit. Five other countries will participate, but Alabama will be the only U.S. state with representation.