Chinaâ€™s largest cotton textile manufacturer, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, to make investment to the tune of $410 million in a manufacturing facility in Forrest City. Ruyi has agreed to renovate the former Sanyo facility in Forrest City for its plant, where Arkansas cotton will be spun into yarn for textile use. The Sanyo plant has been vacant since it shut down in 2007. The plant will be Ruyiâ€™s first cotton-spinning facility in North America.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Ruyiâ€™s chairman, Yafu Qiu, signed a memorandum of understanding in a ceremony at the state Capitol. Arkansas has agreed to provide cash incentives of up to $4 million and payroll rebates of about $11 million for the project. Forrest City and St. Francis County have agreed to provide close to $1 million in incentives.
Hutchinson said that it is something thatâ€™s going to have a tremendous impact on a county and on a region that has lagged behind the national employment statistics. In St. Francis County they have a 4.8 percent unemployment rate, whereas statewide itâ€™s 3.6 percent. Itâ€™s going to give an economic boost to a region that much deserves it and has worked very hard for it.
Qiu said that through an interpreter the plant will use cutting-edge technology to produce a superior product.
The renovations are expected to begin late this year, and production is expected to begin in mid-2018. Ruyi plans to process more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton annually at the facility.
Arkansas is the fifth largest cotton producer in the nation, turning out more than 840,000 bales in 2016.
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