Michael Calhoun (@michaelcalhoun, mrcalhoun@cbs.com) and Bill Reker

MASCOUTAH (KMOX) – MidAmerica Airport now has an agreement with an airport in China that could lead to an Asian trade line.

It was announced at an Air Cargo Forum in Atlanta on Wednesday that MidAmerica had reached an agreement with the Ningbo Lishe International Airport located in the Zhiezhang Province of China.

They’ll begin trading in high value dry goods and perishables. A big player in this agreeement is North Bay Produce of Michigan. It recently built a giant six million dollar refrigerated warehouse at MidAmerica.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said the expansion at MidAmerica is a key step in opening up more Asian trade.

Meantime, there is a continued lack of news on the Missouri side of the river, where years-long efforts to open up air trade with China resulted in a couple of flights last fall but nothing since.

Officials, when asked about progress in recent weeks, have noted that there are negotiations and have hinted at something on the horizon, but no specifics.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, while being interviewed by KMOX News this week about the Charter headquarters departure, noted the $3 million from the St. Louis Port Authority, approved by the County Council in April, which was intended to be used for incentives.

When asked specifically about a timeline for an announcement of success, Dooley said that would be “coming forth.”

China Cargo Airlines ran just two flights between Shanghai and St. Louis last fall before pulling out.

KMOX © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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