Chinese Delegation Eyes Coast Rebuilding - - The News for South Mississippi

Chinese Delegation Eyes Coast Rebuilding

The phrase "made in China" could one day apply to coast homes and businesses rebuilt after Katrina. The City of D'Iberville is promoting a partnership with two of the largest builders in China.

The overseas contractors have the desire and financial backing to help build South Mississippi.

A traditional "dragon dance" with fireworks welcomed the Chinese delegation to D'Iberville City Hall Tuesday. D'Iberville is promoting something slightly off beat as part of the coast's hurricane recovery.

This conference introduces coast business and community leaders to two of the largest builders in China. The Chinese companies are interested in building South Mississippi. And not just a few subdivisions.

"Not just doing one or two projects at a time. They can go in and do one or two cities at a time," said local contractor Tony Heflin.

"We're going to have to find contractors from somewhere to build. And financial schemes to build these projects with," said Mayor Rusty Quave.

The mayor says the Chinese bring both to the table. Less expensive materials and labor from China could build affordable housing quickly and cheaper.

"These guys want to come to the table with legal representation and get the documentation to come in and house the people. And as soon as the project is over, they'll leave. They'll go back home," said the mayor.

The Chinese are certainly serious about the venture. The two companies at the table helped build the American embassy in China and the 2008 Olympic Village in Bejing.

Speaking through an interpretor, Ningsheng Chen said he's excited about the possibility of helping the area rebuild.

"Inviting the foreign investors and builders to this area to help with the rebuilding, that will be a historical event," he said.

Many hurdles remain before Chinese workers could lay the first brick on the coast. But the delegation received a warm welcome and seems more than willing to help the coast rebuild.

"They're willing to work. They're willing to step out and do whatever it needs to be. They're ready to go right now," said Heflin.

By Steve Phillips

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