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Baucus Returns To Montana To Talk Trade And Tourism

Max Baucus is co-director of Farmers for Free Trade and a former U.S. senator from Montana, and former U.S. ambassador to China.

Former Montana Senator, and current Ambassador to China, Max Baucus returned to his home state for the first time in over a year Monday night.

Baucus addressed a Montana Chamber of Commerce gathering in Helena. He said China's economic output is on track to surpass the U.S. in about 10 years, but that means increased opportunities for some Montana industries, such as energy. Montana can supply China with coal, and with technology to burn that coal cleanly, now that China has agreed to slow its growth in carbon emissions.

"That means China is going to have to work to develop new technologies, new clean coal technologies, encourage more conservation, more enhanced oil recovery, so there's great opportunity for energy technology cooperation."

The world's most populous country is also in constant need of food, and Baucus said that too is an area where Montana producers can profit.

"Chinese consumers just don't trust the safety of Chinese food, so they buy American stuff, especially food stuffs, I don't care if it's cherries, fish, whatever it is, if it's something you might be interested in, I tell you there's a huge potential there to just sell on line. A lot of companies are taking advantage of that."

One thing the state can't export is its natural beauty. Tourists have to come here to see that, and Baucus said Montana is “on the cusp” of becoming a major destination for Chinese tourists.

"They kinda know it's there, with a little extra effort, there's going to be a lot more interest in their coming over here. We issued, we processed, as I think I said, two million visas a year. I think next year there's going to be many more."

Baucus's homecoming coincided with the Montana “Chamber's Manufacturing and International Trade Day”, so he faced an audience eager to hear about trade opportunities overseas.


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