Governor McDonnell’s biggest announcement thus far on his journey through Asia is that he has created a job; in Shanghai. The most mature cooperative venture between Virginia and China, the trade relationship between Waynesboro and Chongqing is off the agenda. But he’s exporting a government position from Richmond to China.
“Gov. Bob McDonnell has opened a marketing office for Virginia in Shanghai. The governor is on a two-week job creating and marketing mission in Japan, China and Korea.” – The Roanoke Times
This effort underlines McDonnell administration’s paucity of business and international experience. While setting up the post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacies for claims that he has “created jobs” out of this journey, he has arranged visits that are little more than photo opportunities. No substance from any of the dispatches. And he assumed (or his staff is truly incompetent) he could waltz into China and doors would fly open. They didn’t and those with a bit of experience in this area can tell you that China sent a very clear message to McDonnell: “Just who do you think you are?” As reported in The News Virginian McDonnell said Tuesday in a conference call from Shanghai that he’s “sure something will work out in the future.” Yes, that’s how those international deals are done: something works out. Ask George Mitchell.
McDonnell also is talking up tourism and Virginia’s wine industry, which is the fifth largest in the United States. Further, McDonnell is meeting with shipping companies, hoping to expand traffic through the Port of Hampton Roads. – Richmond Times Dispatch
We should then suppose that every time we see a Chinese tourist from this point forward, it was this effort that generated the trip. When the shipping traffic increases in Norfolk, it won’t be an improving Obama economy, it will have been this effort. The export of Virginia wine to China is of course going to be a result of the work in Bejing. A couple of problems. Bejing isn’t the gateway to the Chinese wine trade and even if it were, it is not as though Virginia is prepared to supply significantly more product than is currently being produced. And this Governor has failed to accomplish anything to ensure the goods arriving in Hampton Roads can be transported from the port inland, allowing a transportation bottleneck to strangle potential job growth. We can wait for the numbers for the tourism claim and guess that they will increase in a self-fulfilling prophecy as a matter of economic growth in China.
So what we have thus far is a two week boondoggle and some sorely needed on-the-job training for the Governor and his party while he prepares the illusion that his accomplishments include increasing trade with China and jobs in Virginia. It really is genius. After all, who would imagine that trade with the fastest growing economy in the world would increase? It’s such a good bet that he could not afford to send Virginia’s Chief Jobs Officer, Bill Bolling. Maybe he should have. Maybe Bolling wouldn’t have assumed his position carries weight in Beijing.
A special session of the legislature to solve the transportation issues in Hampton Roads would produce infinitely more jobs than this charade that appears more appropriately designed to provide national bona fides for the Governor’s personal ambitions than to help Virginia. Maybe he ought to call Haley Barbour to find out how he moved jobs from China to Mississippi. Right now, the jobs arrow in the Virginia trade game is pointing to China.