Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of the U.S.-based W. W. Grainger Inc. Richard L. Keyser on Tuesday was
given the Marco Polo Award, which honors American business people who support
American volunteer professionals working in China.
Ji Yunshi, director of the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs
(SAFEA), presented Keyser with the award in recognition of his contribution to
exchanges of Sino-U.S. experts and friendship between the two peoples.
The SAFEA highly values cooperation with the United States and hopes the
Marco Polo Award to serve as a bridge linking the two nations, said Zhang
Jianguo, vice chairman of the SBFEA.
According to statistics from China Customs, 2.5 million foreign experts have
worked in China since 1978. At present, more than 240,000 come each year.
"Grainger has a long tradition of supporting the community where we do
business, and now we are in China ready to support the work of dedicated
volunteers in economic development and scientific work," said Keyser.
The award, named after Marco Polo, the Italian traveler who arrived in China
in the 13th century and then introduced Chinese civilization to western nations,
was initiated by the China Project of the Volunteers of America, a project that
dispatches about 30 volunteers to work in China every year in areas such as
finance, securities, auditing, scientific research, medicine, agriculture,
industry, education, and business.
Grainger, a leading North America provider of facility maintenance products,
established its presence in China in 1995 and opened its first product
distribution center in China's financial hub of Shanghai in September