The Georgia Department of Economic Development is looking at Beijing and Shanghai, China, as possible locations to open an international office, while seeking guidance from local organizations like the Asian-American Commission for a New Georgia to come to a final decision, said Bert Brantley, spokesperson for the department.

“Certainly, Shanghai, being a commercial city, seems to be an obvious location [for an international office], but things are still being sorted out. Details are still being determined,” Mr. Brantley said, noting that Beijing’s position as a political center in China also makes it a strong candidate for a Georgia international office.

While the department has not made an official decision on where to locate an office in China, Chris Clark, deputy commissioner of the department’s Global Commerce division, has announced that he hopes an office will open in China sometime in 2006, Mr. Brantley said.

In the mean time, the department is working with local organizations and universities to make strategic decisions about where and how to open an office in China. Mr. Brantley said the department is working closely with Gov. Sonny Perdue’s Asian-American Commission for a New Georgia, which was created in 2003 as a state advisory board on Georgia-China business development, to figure out strategic details.

He also noted that the department is working with academics from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University and the University of Georgia. “The universities around here have experts on U.S.-China relations and experts on Georgia-China relations,” he said. “They are great resources, and they are helping us lay the groundwork for making a decision.” Local experts are also expected to help department officials learn from the state’s previous experiences in China, Mr. Brantley said, noting that the department once operated an office in Shanghai that closed down in 2000, due to budget cuts and poor performance in comparison to other Georgia international offices.

“China has certainly changed in the last five years. It’s booming now. That’s why we need these experts to help us make a decision,” he said.

The department also has international offices in Jerusalem, London, Mexico City, Metz, France, Munich, Germany, Santiago, Chile, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Seoul, Korea, Tokyo and Toronto.

Contact Mr. Brantley at (404) 962-4830.