OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Brad Henry said Wednesday he is confident an ongoing trade mission to China will produce results that will benefit the Oklahoma economy.
"I think the trade mission has been very productive thus far," said Henry, who is leading a delegation of private and public sector officials that left for China on June 17.
"We've had substantive discussions with a number of high-ranking officials, and their assistance will be very helpful as we attempt to expand export markets for Oklahoma companies," the governor said in a statement released by his office at the Capitol.
"The relationships we are building will also help us facilitate cultural and educational exchanges between our governments," he said.
The 50-member trade delegation spent the first several days of its mission in Beijing, China's capital, where Henry met with top government officials, including leaders of the country's energy industry.
"The Chinese government is very interested in the expertise of the Oklahoma energy industry," Henry said. "Fostering a good working relationship will produce great dividends for Oklahoma energy companies, industry suppliers and the overall state economy."
The delegation arrived late Thursday in Shanghai, where more economic development meetings are scheduled.
The trip is being financed primarily by private sources.
In recent years, each Oklahoma governor has led a trade delegation to China in an effort to stimulate business for Oklahoma companies.
Oklahoma exports to China have increased by 216 percent since 1998. China was the state's seventh largest export market in 2003, accounting for about $65 million in export transactions.
After four days in Beijing, the delegation spent Wednesday in Chengdu, Xian and Lanzhou in the province of Gansu, Oklahoma's sister state in China. During that visit, Henry signed a document reaffirming the sister-state agreement.
Before returning to the United States, the delegation is scheduled to visit Japan for meetings with government officials and business prospects in that country.