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Gwinnett, China sign agreement

DULUTH -- Gwinnett's link to Chinese businesses got a boost Tuesday, when officials signed an agreement with the Wuhan National Bio-Industry Base, known as Biolake.

Signed at a convention in Washington, the memorandum of understanding with the Innovation Crescent, a group of economic development leaders between Athens and Atlanta, is expected to further the potential of foreign investment and trade opportunities between Georgia and China.

"Signing MOU's, like this one with Biolake, lays an enabling foundation for accelerated global business development," said Nick Masino, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce vice president who heads the Innovation Crescent. "Our goal as a region is to enhance and broaden the life science and biotech industry; global connection is a great first step to achieving this goal."

Biolake is an economic development engine focused on the biological industry of the Hubei Province and Wuhan City, while the Innovation Crescent is focused on building the life science industry in more than a dozen counties, a press release said.

"We see Georgia and the Innovation Crescent as a strong potential market for the launch of Central Chinese biobusiness into the U.S. market," said Jiakuan Chen, who works on Wuhan Biolake's new drug-incubation public service platform. "As we work to provide opportunities for our companies to expand their products, services and business, we feel that building stronger ties with organizations like the Innovation Crescent adds tremendous value to this effort."

Both state and Innovation Crescent officials have participated in the annual BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C., for four years, as part of a plan to draw companies and boost business, the release said.

"The Innovation Crescent is a great partner of the State in supporting existing industry and bringing new industry to Georgia," said Carol Henderson, director of innovation and technology for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "Georgia's goal through attendance at this particular event is to communicate to both audiences that Georgia, the Crescent and all of our bio partners have the strong and established collaborative environment essential, in particular, to the growth of life science business today."