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Otter: group lined up $10M in Idaho investments during China trip

A private entity that helps foreign nationals obtain visas if they invest their money in Idaho arranged $10 million worth of deals in mining and real estate during Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s recent trade mission to China, the governor said.

The Idaho State Regional Center, a federally approved EB-5 regional center that is authorized to facilitate immigration opportunities for foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in projects that create at least ten American jobs per investor, signed letters of intent with Chinese investors during the trip to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the governor said in a guest opinion sent to Idaho newspapers June 18.

Otter also said the trip, from June 4 to 12, set the stage for other future business deals and ongoing relationships, including more potential EB-5 investment.

The guest opinion also included the following comments from Idaho business leaders:

Robert Bishop, who leads international sales for Hamer-based Larsen Farms, which sells compressed alfalfa hay for use by dairies and livestock producers: “In those meetings it became apparent the Chinese customer requires a different package than what we now offer. We currently are contemplating a seven-figure-plus investment to our facility to meet these new packaging requirements.”

Paul Haacke, Melaleuca’s vice president of International Sales: “Now that we have a license to conduct direct sales in China, we are looking to expand to five additional cities in China, which would open up our customer base to an additional 55 million people.”

Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission said the commission received very positive responses from Sam’s Club, Parkson and City Shop retailers for both frozen and dehydrated potato products. City Shop in Shanghai and Beijing already is planning to run a special American promotion that will include Idaho dehydrated mashed potatoes.

Doug Sayer, CEO of Blackfoot-based Premier Technology: “The successes don’t come overnight. With China, first you have to establish a relationship, almost a friendship, before business is conducted. We now are at the point in which we’re talking business and there are three potential projects we’re working on with a Chinese company. This trade mission took us steps closer to making significant projects a reality.”


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