Fulton Builds International Relations as Chinese Executives Visit

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FULTON - Chinese business executives continued their visit to Fulton Tuesday to look into developing a business relationship with the city. 

Most of the executives represent metal and mechanical engineering or textile companies.

This was the first trip by Chinese business executives to Fulton. They were persuaded to come by local UPS store owner Richard Lee.

The trip started Monday morning when the group convened at city hall to meet city and business officials. Then the executives then were given a tour of the Dollar General distribution center. 

The group was shown the city by mayor Leroy Benton, who led them through different activities which included a reception at the national Winston Churchill Museum Monday night.

Williams Woods University provided interpreters for the business executives from some of its 33 Chinese students. 

The group visited local businesses Tuesday, as well as William Woods' campus, where it was a little more fun than work as the Chinese visitors toured the equestrian center.

Trips like this are important for establishing business relationships, according to Melissa Siegel, a worker at the Fulton Area Development Corporation.

According to Fulton Director of Administration Bill Johnson, three of the executives have had "considerable interest" in doing business with Fulton.

"We receive a lot from China. I mean it would be really nice if we could send something back," Siegel said. 

UPS Store owner Richard Lee is from China and still has family there, which has helped him establish connections with Chinese executives.

The city of Fulton pays Lee to lure and build relationship with one of the world's largest economies.

The executives left Fulton Tuesday to continue their trip around the country before heading home.

According to Siegel, Lee will follow up with the executives next week. Siegal said the city hopes to see some business in the upcoming weeks, though she said she knows the economic impact may be much later. 

"It may be a couple of weeks, it could be years, I can't tell, it's just important to establish connections like this," Sielgel said.