Elkhart County Commissioner Terry Rodino made his second trip to China, part of an effort to forge cultural and economic ties with the country.
Back in Elkhart County since Saturday, he said Monday that a joint public-private economic proposal could be forthcoming from China involving northern Indiana. He also said there's plenty of interest among the Chinese in investment possibilities in the United States.
"They're very cordial and honorable people and they definitely want to do some business in the United States," said Rodino, who met with executives from several companies.
He was vague on particulars of the possible deal involving Indiana, though, and didn't offer any specific timeline. "Time will tell," he said.
Rodino, traveling with Aaron Zou, a local Chinese-American businessman, and several others from Elkhart County, also reconfirmed the "sister city" relationship between the county and Jinhua, a region of Zhejiang, a manufacturing province. A Jinhua contingent may come to Elkhart County in July, he said, to further the cultural links.
Rodino, in China on the latest trip for about a week, first visited China last July, forging the relationship with Jinhua and exploring economic opportunities there. He paid for both visits out of his own pocket.
"Everything's made in China," he said, alluding to the country's economic might. "They have a great amount of wealth they'd like to redistribute in some areas."
Aside from Jinhua, the Elkhart County group visited Beijing and Shanghai. And aside from the formal business and cultural visits, the travelers took time to hit some tourist spots, including the Great Wall.