Going Forward with International Relations

By: Rachel Yonkunas Email
By: Rachel Yonkunas Email

Since May, Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and the rest of the Southern Delegation have been on a mission. They traveled to China twice, and invited leaders from that country to the South. Relationships may not happen overnight, but SoZo Group CEO, Raymond Cheng, said they are growing.

“It's gratifying to see the impact that these mayors have created,” he said.

The United States lost jobs to China many years ago, but now, Chinese companies are not looking for short term solutions. Cheng said they would not invest their time, if there wasn’t commitment involved.

“People don't spend $20,000 or $30,000, especially when they fly business class, to come over here and kick the tires for two days. They don't do that,” explained Cheng.

These business endeavors go beyond creating jobs and helping communities. Cheng said the mayors are sparking a revolution, and the term "business partner" will hold much more integrity.

“What's happening here may change the world. Sidney goes as far as saying, do it in Dothan. And what these mayors have done, and starting to do, it's going to change the world," he said.

Their trail caught national attention. Former U.S. Undersecretary of International Trade and Commerce Francisco Sanchez applauded their boldness.

“I really congratulate the leadership of the communities here in Dothan, and around Dothan, that see the opportunity here to build their economy, create jobs by partnering with these firms that are coming from China,” he said.

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