- Associated Press - Saturday, May 10, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard currently is leading a weeklong trade mission to China at a cost of $93,000 for the state, but the Republican believes the trip is worth the expense.

Daugaard is hoping to expand the state’s export markets, building on his two prior trips that resulted in brokered deals.

In an interview this week, Daugaard said: “We don’t have an objective dollar target.”

“We know that South Dakota’s production well outstrips our ability to consume that production,” he said. “So for South Dakota to grow, we need to export our products outside our state lines.”

For his past two trips to China, federal grants have covered most of the expenses. This time, the state will pay for up to 30 percent of costs of the companies joining Daugaard.

Here’s a look at the trip by the numbers:

ONE

China is the most populated nation in the world, and its gross domestic product growth in 2012 exceeded other developed countries, World Bank data shows.

“We picked China, because it’s the largest consumer-based (economy) in the world, largest country in the world,” Daugaard said. “It’s become a very large trading partner for South Dakota.”

TWO

Delegates will spend two days in two Chinese cities - Beijing and Shanghai - to meet with their counterparts in industry and government.

The local embassy will pair South Dakota’s and China’s business representatives with an interpreter, a process Daugaard likened to speed dating with delayed conversations.

“It’s real awkward and slow, but that’s the initiation of the conversation that we hold that has in the past led to business,” he said.

THREE

This is Daugaard’s third trade mission to China. He had similar goals during the 2012 and 2013 trips: to facilitate deals.

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