Zions Bank will lead a group of local business and community leaders in a Utah trade mission to Hong Kong and Guangzhou, South China, from Sept. 14-18. The Zions Bank State of Utah Trade Mission provides an opportunity for Utah companies across a variety of sectors to connect overseas with potential agents, distributors, buyers and joint-venture partners.

“Hong Kong and Greater China are major trading partners with whom we have longstanding relationships of trust,” Governor Gary R. Herbert said. “Maintaining that trust is critical for Utah businesses to compete and win in the global economy.”

“We are leading a unified effort in building and expanding Utah’s commercial activities in these two dynamic international markets,” said Mark Garfield, senior vice president and manager of International Banking at Zions Bank. “Zions Bank is committed to supporting local companies as they strive to increase their competitiveness through overseas expansion.”

The trade mission is supported by World Trade Center Utah, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, U.S. Commercial Service and Sundance Institute. A key component of the visit is the one-on-one meetings set up by U.S. Commercial Service for participants to discuss opportunities with successful business leaders in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

The group of approximately 60 participants, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson, will attend a networking reception hosted by the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, various business meetings, and will participate in Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong, which features 11 films from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Zions Bank is the presenting sponsor of the Sundance Film Festival: Hong Kong, which is in its second year showcasing highlights from Utah’s annual cultural event to Asian audiences.

Business leaders participating in the trade mission include local companies from a variety of industries: from retail clothing and home décor to business consulting, energy, software development and real estate.

“Through site visits, panels and networking events, the Utah delegation will learn what it means to do business in China and Hong Kong and what rules and regulations they need to be aware of,” said Derek B. Miller, president and CEO of World Trade Center Utah. “Education is a huge component of this trade mission, because a thorough understanding of the market is essential for success.”

Hong Kong was selected as a trade mission destination for its role as a global financial powerhouse. It is known as one of the world’s most services-oriented economies, with services sectors accounting for more than 90 percent of its GDP. Hong Kong’s economy expanded by 2.8 percent from last year and unemployment was 3.3 percent, close to the lowest level in 17 years, according to an economic report by HKTDC Research.

Hong Kong’s neighboring city, Guangzhou, was also selected as a site for the trade mission as it is China’s third largest city and serves as an important national transportation hub and trading port. When combined with Hong Kong, the area has the most populous metropolitan agglomeration in the world, at 54 million.

Zions Bank has previously hosted the Mountain States Trade Missions in countries including United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Columbia, Panama and Vietnam.