Traveling salesmen: Government heads hock everything from tech to tuna on state visits Published: 2013-12-29 13:42:00

               Editor's Note

Many government leaders act as salesmen during state visits and pitch their latest product or project with aims to attract foreign investment. Generally, the government fully supports these projects and sometimes offers preferential terms to further attract investment.

  ● Leaders exploring overseas markets during official visits is a common practice.

  ● Projects are often chosen from areas of industry in which both countries are most likely to cooperate.

  ● “Government leaders are more influential in ‘selling’ domestic goods.”

-- Chen Mingming, former Chinese ambassador to Sweden and New Zealand 

               Sales Pitches

High-tech products
  Chinese Premier Li Keqiang: High-speed rail technology
A bullet train traveling between Hangzhou and Nanjing enters Deqing Railway Station in east China's Zhejiang Province, July 1, 2013. The Nanjing-Hangzhou-Ningbo high-speed railway that stretches across east China's Yangtze River Delta began officially put into operation on July 1. The new high-speed railway is expected to boost the region's economy and foster the growth of tourism in the three cities it links (Xinhua/Wang Dingchang) Chinese Premier Li Keqiang introduced China’s high-speed railway technology to leaders of 16 Central and Eastern European countries at an economic and trade forum on November 26, 2013. During his visit to Thailand in October, Li said that enhancing China-Thailand railway cooperation would bolster regional interconnectivity and benefit the two nations and the region at large. China has reached agreements with many countries on railway projects, such as Hungary, Serbia and Romania.

  French President Francois Hollande: Airbus

During the first day of Hollande's China visit, Beijing signed an $8 billion agreement to purchase 60 Airbus planes and renewed nuclear power cooperation with Paris. Hollande hocked French food at a press conference in Beijing on April 25, 2013 and expressed his hope to sell more French hams and sausages in China.

  German Chancellor Angela Merkel: Magnetic levitation technology
Merkel rode the magnetic levitation rail line to the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai where she boarded her flight back to Germany on May 22, 2006.

Analysts believe Merkel's remarks are a strong indicator that China-Germany relations will be a high priority during her term. 

 Military equipment
  Russian President Vladimir Putin: Fighter jets and aircraft engines
During the visit starting on December 24, 2012, Putin planned to sign off an estimated $7.5 million on sales of fighter jets and aircraft engines to India, Reuters reported.

  US President Barack Obama: Fighter jets
Obama promoted Boeing F-18 fighter jets to Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff during his visit to Brazil on March 19 and 20, 2011. “President Obama underscored that the F-18 is the best plane on offer…” Reuters cited Obama's top Latin American adviser as saying.

  Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt: Fighter jets
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt expressed that Swedish Defense and security company Saab was willing to sell fighter jets to Bulgaria during his one-day visit to Bulgaria on November 21, 2011. 

Food, vehicles, and real estate
  British Prime Minister David Cameron: Jaguar Land Rover

During a three-day visit to China beginning December 2, 2013, Cameron visited Jaguar Land Rover’s training academy in Beijing to mark its official opening, as Jaguar Land Rover sign a new agreement to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company in China over the coming year. Cameron also promoted cultural products such as British movies, TV series, music and games.

  Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras: Real estate
Samaras recommended buying houses in Greece during a speech in Shanghai on May 18, 2013. Greece also welcomes China to participate in the privatization of the country's state-owned assets, according to a joint statement on May 17.

  Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe: Japanese food
Abe introduced Miyazaki beef and Bluefin Tuna to the UAE during his visit on May 2, 2013. Abe aimed at cultivating agricultural development by promoting Japanese foods, according to reports. 

  Former Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva: Fruit

After visiting a fruit market in Guangzhou on June 26, 2009, Abhisit said that the focus of cooperation between China and Thailand would be to shorten shipping times and trade more varieties of fruit.

Source: Agencies -

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