Partnership formed to help Michigan automotive companies grow exports to China

Posted on April 23, 2013

SOUTHFIELD  — A partnership was formed to provide incentives for Michigan’s small- and medium-sized automotive companies interested in launching or expanding exports to China.

The partership was formed between Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) a not-for-profit association based in Southfield and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

“AIAG is committed to help accelerate growth in the lower-tier automotive supply base in terms of both capacity and capability,” said J. Scot Sharland, executive director of AIAG. “Our collaboration with MEDC opens the door to China for Michigan companies who may not otherwise be given the opportunity — helping them identify, understand and secure new export opportunities and/or engage in strategic discussions with like-minded Chinese entrepreneurs.”

The seventh annual AIAG Auto Parts Purchasing Leadership and Suppliers Forum, supported by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Commerce, takes place on Sept. 14 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Beijing. The event invites purchasing executives from GM, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, SAIC, Yanfeng, Delphi, Bosch, Magna, and John Deere, among others, to share their regional manufacturing plans, sourcing needs and supplier performance expectations.

Michigan auto suppliers can also participate in the MEDC-AIAG Michigan Pavilion exhibit during the China International Auto Parts Expo (CIAPE), scheduled for Sept. 13-15 in Beijing. Hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, CIAPE is an international auto parts exhibition held by the Chinese government. The event has attracted more than 8,000 quality auto parts suppliers from more than 130 countries and regions across the world as well as more than 200,000 professional auto and auto parts purchasers for the past six years. It provides an opportunity for auto suppliers to exhibit and promote their products and services to potential customers in China and throughout Asia.

Eligible Michigan companies who participate in one of these events can apply to receive 50 percent reimbursement of their expenses through the State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) program offered by MEDC. The STEP grant program provides direct reimbursements to qualified companies with 500 or fewer employees globally for export-related activities, ranging from foreign market research to international trade missions.

The STEP program’s goal is to increase Michigan’s export sales, increase the number of new-to-export companies and introduce current exporters to new foreign markets and buyers.

“As the world’s largest automotive market, China offers tremendous export opportunities for Michigan companies to expand and create new jobs,” said MEDC vice president of international business development Mark Kinsler. “At the same time, Michigan is the best place for Chinese companies interested in expanding in North America. Our mission is to help more companies identify and enter into new relationships in China as well as attract more Chinese investment to create more and better jobs here in Michigan.”

The Oakland Press.