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O’Malley To Travel To Asia To Boost Md. Trade

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—More Maryland business in Asia. That’s the goal Governor Martin O’Malley has set for an official 10-day trip to China, South Korea and Vietnam in June. And he’s finding a partner in the mayor of Seoul, South Korea.

Derek Valcourt explains it’s all about boosting trade between the two regions.

Both sides say the goal is bringing more American business to Asia and more Asian business to Maryland.

At Marlin Steel Wire in South Baltimore, they manufacture specialty wire products from simple baskets for companies like Boeing to small specialty orders.

Already 20 to 25 percent of their customers are overseas, and now they’re hoping to find even more business in Asian countries.

“The real growth that’s taking place out there right now is in foreign markets. We can sit around and complain about it or we can try to get a piece of that action,” said Chris Elwood, Marlin Steel Wire.

Governor O’Malley wants Maryland in on the action, as well. That’s why he signed a memorandum of understanding with the mayor of Seoul, South Korea. The two leaders promise to explore how businesses in Maryland and Seoul can benefit each other.

“A better future is not going to happen by itself,” O’Malley said. “We have to make that happen, and we believe we can make that happen together in very positive ways.”

In fact, this summer O’Malley and other state officials are planning a 10-day mission to China, South Korea and Vietnam.  It’s a trip aimed at helping Maryland companies like Marlin Steel Wire tap into Asia’s fast growing economic expansion.

What would open Asian markets do for Maryland companies like Marlin Steel?

“Obviously there’s a huge populace of customers out there that we could sell to that we are not currently selling to and that’s going to mean that we are going to be able to hire more American workers,” Elwood said.

Marlin Steel Wire’s owner will join the governor on the trip, hoping face-to-face meetings might help bend Asian business in their direction.

“Who knows what this trip will bring. It might not bring anything, but you’ll never know by staying here,” Elwood said.

Nearly 20 representatives from the state government, business community and education field will join the governor on the 10-day trip to Asia which begins May 31.

Last year, with help from the state, Maryland companies were able to export $65 million worth of products to Asia.

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