During a visit to the TimesLedger Newspaper's offices in Bayside earlier this month, the senator talked about his recent visits to China and its growing international trade economy. Although the world's most populous nation has one of the strongest manufacturing sectors in the world, Smith said its consumers want the American made goods."The stereotype is that we're outsourcing, but when I went they were hungry for our products," he said.Smith noted that currently only big corporations like Burger King are doing business in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, where there is a dearth of small American businesses. "I felt New York state was not doing great and not selling its products to China," he said. "I told Eliot [Spitzer] that it's an embarrassment for us as a country that we do not have a presence in China."The senator decided to change that so he took 16 small businesses in the state that manufactures products such as perfume, jewelry, wine and beer and introduced them to the Asian market. Although only five of those businesses are still operating in China, Smith said he and the governor are considering creating a request for a proposal to set up a New York in China center in Asia.Smith added that more must be done to increase China's presence within the United States. With neighborhoods like Flushing, Jackson Heights, and Jamaica leading the way with hundreds of prosperous Asian businesses, the senator said foreign entrepreneurs are growing more interested in setting up shop in America, particularly New York."During the conversations I had with them [Asian businesses], they thought they were not properly being represented...in terms of understanding the relationship between China and the United States," he said.The senator noted the Korean wholesale mart currently being constructed on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica is a good sign of that relationship improving. Located near the AirTrain station to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the mart is expected to bring retailers from across the world and help improve the commercial area of southeast Queens."It's going to mean job creation and good business for both of us," he said.In addition, the senator mentioned that U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) is working with the Port Authority to build an international trade center within JFK Airport to give traders more efficient access to both American and international goods.Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@t
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