By Guy Page
Vermont Daily readers have been asking about the State of Vermont’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). In particular, they have asked about meetings between state officials, including Gov. Phil Scott, and PRC officials.
Today, Vermont Daily asked the governor at his press conference: “Next Saturday will be the second anniversary of the Chinese Consul General Huang Ping’s visit with you and other state officials in Montpelier. He invited Vermont to participate in “The Belt and Road” construction, which is a 70-nation initiative led by China. Is Vermont participating in the Belt and Road initiative? In general, how would you describe the development of our trade relationship with the People’s Republic of China since that meeting?”
Gov. Scott said he is unaware of any specific outcomes of his meeting with the Consul General. “These are typically ‘meet and greets,’” Scott said. They are an exercise in official courtesy: “We talk about what they can do for us, what we can do for them.” He’s held such meetings with trade representatives of many countries, Scott said. He promised to look into whether any tangible developments emerged from the February 27, 2019 meeting.
Vermont’s trade relationship with PRC rival Taiwan – the democratic Republic of China located on a large island 100 miles away from the Chinese mainland – took an interesting turn Feb. 9 when the Vermont Senate declined to approve a resolution of friendship introduced by three senators. Instead, Senate President and Lt. Gov. Molly Gray without explanation sent SR7 to the Senate Economic Development committee. It was the first senate resolution this year to not be approved on its day of introduction. One senator told Vermont Daily the resolution may have been sent to committee because the relatively complex subject matter required further study.
Taiwan remains Vermont’s chief Asian export customer, followed by the PRC. However, according to US Census figures last year total exports to Taiwan decreased about 10%, while PRC exports grew 16%.
For the official PRC version of the Feb. 27 meeting, see the following press release published March 1, 2019 on the website of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York.
On February 27th, Consul General Huang Ping visited Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, met with Phil Scott, the Governor of Vermont, David Zuckerman, the Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, and Jim Condos, the Secretary of State separately, and exchanged views on China-US relations and local cooperation with them.
Huang Ping introduced the current China-US relations briefly, saying that the Chinese Consulate General in New York is willing to strengthen contacts with the Vermont State Government and contribute more to promote the China-US relations on the basis of coordination, cooperation, and stability. Vermont is a picturesque, resource-rich state with developed industries of dairy, beer, winter sports, and so on. With broad prospects for cooperation, he hopes that both sides could give full play to our respective advantages and tap potential and growth areas for cooperation actively. He welcomes the State Government to participate in the 2nd China Import Expo and “The Belt and Road” construction, to create more benefits for the two peoples, and to achieve win-win development.
Phil Scott, the Governor of Vermont, welcomed Huang Ping and his delegation to visit the state capital, saying that Vermont pays great attention to developing relations with China, and it is willing to strengthen cooperation with the Consulate General. Scott was pleased to see substantive progress in the China-US economic and trade consultation, which he said is good news for Vermont. Vermont has a limited population but abundant resources, among which tourism is one of the pillar industries. He welcomes more Chinese people to visit, study, and work in Vermont, and he is expecting to explore more chances for cooperation with China.
According to David Zuckerman, the Lieutenant Governor of Vermont, he welcomes the Chinese Consulate General in New York to introduce and promote Vermont to more Chinese people. As a native of Vermont, he knows the overall strength of the dairy, beer, and other industries in Vermont well, and he believes that China could definitely provide a broad market for them. He is willing to introduce the “The Belt and Road” construction and the holding of the Expo in China to relevant departments of the State Government and the enterprises in Vermont, and to promote more cooperation between China and these institutions.
Jim Condos, the Secretary of State, expressed that Vermont is a ski resort in winter and a colorful natural oxygen bar in summer and fall. Chinese tourists have been visiting the state frequently in recent years, while there are more and more Chinese students studying at the universities of Vermont. Since people-to-people exchanges are the foundation of bilateral relations, he believes that the enthusiastic and unsophisticated people of Vermont would make a profound impression on Chinese people. He also wishes to visit China again and experience the development of China in person.
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