Douglas pleased with reception in China

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he’s encouraged by the reception that a Vermont trade mission is receiving in China.

Douglas says the primary goal of the trip is to promote the activities of Vermont environmental companies and the governor says it appears there a lot of opportunities available for these firms.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Douglas says this is the perfect time for Vermont environmental companies to be visiting China. He says Chinese leaders are eager to reduce some of their serious pollution problems before Beijing hosts the 2008 summer Olympics and a World’s Fair is scheduled for Shanghai in 2010.

The governor spoke with a group of Vermont reporters during his final day in Shanghai. Douglas says he was pleased to learn that the Vermont trade mission was one of the few international groups that was allowed to meet directly with the city’s Mayor Hun Jung:

(Douglas) “He focused his remarks consistent with our mission on concerns about the environment here. They understand that they have some work to do in terms of air quality improvement solid waste management and pollution control. But they really understand how critically important that is for their economic future. They basically said, it’s not a question of the economy or the environment it’s a question of both or neither.'”

(Kinzel) While it’s unlikely that any Vermont companies will return home with signed contracts with the Chinese government, Douglas says some critical contacts have been made for the future:

(Douglas) “The Chinese culture is such that it’s about building relationships. This is not a place where a deal is consummated summarily on the first visit or at the first meeting. But we’re building relationships for the future that I think we be very very successful.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says the trade mission has also been an opportunity for some Vermont companies to learn lessons from the Chinese:

(Douglas) “They also have in the hotel where we’re staying motion sensors so that the lights in the corridors don’t come on until people go into them. The escalators in the hotels and other public buildings don’t move until someone is there and needing to use it – another way to conserve energy. So although our mission is to convey the services that we have available in Vermont, we can learn a few things about how China is doing things as well.”

(Kinzel) On Wednesday, the Vermont trade delegation will fly to Beijing to attend a world trade show that will focus on emerging environmental technologies.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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