After ending trade talks in DC with an agreement to buy, China finds Alaska looking to sell

Governor Bill Walker meets with Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing on Monday, May 21, 2018. (photo courtesy of Governor’s office)

CHENGDU — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker along with state gasline corporation head Keith Meyer met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in Beijing early Monday morning.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He left Washington D.C. over the weekend where he led a delegation working to avert a trade war with the United States.

The result? Both sides announced on Saturday that they would stop slapping each other with tariffs and that China would buy more goods and services from the U.S.

Walker met with He early Monday morning — just hours after the China’s top economic adviser returned to Beijing. Walker touted the timing of his arrival in Beijing.

“We were absolutely first in line, I mean it was impeccable timing on our part,” Walker said. “We just happened to be there on the morning after, I mean he returned two hours after our flight got into Beijing, from Washington.”

China is Alaska’s largest trading partner. Walker hopes the state can play a pivotal role in reducing tensions over the trade deficit between the U.S. and China.

That trade deficit is massive — last year, the U.S. bought $375 billion more in goods and services than it sold to China.

Both countries agreed to increases in U.S. agriculture and energy exports to China.

Meanwhile, Walker is leading a 10-day trade mission with a delegation of Alaska companies peddling everything from seafood and the $45 billion AK LNG export project, to organic baby food, specialty teas and minerals.

As he ran between meetings with Chinese officials in Chengdu on Tuesday, Walker said Alaska is just one piece of a large geopolitical puzzle – but it’s a role he is willing to play.

“I just am happy with the result,” Walker said. “I don’t care what piece I am, I’m just happy with the result.”

Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.

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