Trade dispute isn’t stopping Chinese connections to Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sixty-five Chinese delegates are in Kansas City this week to discuss building educational and business relationships in the region, despite the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China.

Kansas City has had a connection to China for 80 years, thanks to the Edgar Snow Memorial Foundation.

Snow, who was born in Kansas City, was the first western journalist to interview the communist leaders who formed the People's Republic of China in the 1930s.

His foundation established decades old educational exchanges that have helped spur Chinese investment in our region, everything from agriculture to technology.

Smithfield Foods, the big pork processor that used to be Farmland, is owned by a Chinese company.

And Eye Verify, a local technology startup, is now owned by Chinese tech giant Alibaba.

"We are really working more and focusing more on the business side of things," said Councilman Scott Wagner. "We have had investments that have come from China to Kansas City. Part of our purpose, even this week, is to show here are the business opportunities in Kansas City. Whether it’s distributing products here, or investing in Kansas City in some  fashion."

Delegates at the symposium recognize that the tariff dispute won't last forever, and they hope to build trade relationships that will flourish and help Kansas City grow when the trade war ends.

During a welcome from the city council, Kansas City will receive the International Friendship Cities award from China. It's a sign that people-to-people connections continue in spite of a politically charged climate.

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