Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chinese Official Lauds Duval's Trade Potential

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Chinese Official Lauds Duval's Trade Potential

Article excerpt

Byline: Matthew I. Pinzur, Times-Union staff writer

Calling Jacksonville a bustling city with the potential to be a major trading partner, the Chinese ambassador to the United States spoke yesterday at a Southbank hotel to begin a 10-city tour across the country.

Ambassador Yang Jiechi pointed to technology, agriculture and paper as First Coast exports ripe for increased trade, especially as the Chinese government pushes to increase consumer consumption.

"I believe there is great opportunity for cooperation between China and Jacksonville," Yang said. "I see a bustling city, great people and opportunity for the future."

The bulk of his speech to the Meninak Club, a local civic organization, emphasized invigorating trade as a way to bridge cultural gaps between China and the United States.

Trade, Yang said, will flourish in a Chinese market that is increasingly privatized, continues to grow and is burnished by falling government barriers toward purchase of homes, cars and electricity. The United States is China's largest investor and second-largest trading partner.

"When one talks about China and the United States, one talks about trade a lot," Yang said.

Yang is a native of Shanghai and graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. Prior to his appointment this year, he was China's vice foreign minister.

The ambassador's visit was arranged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and a chamber spokesman urged the federal government not to link Chinese trade with human rights reforms or other social agendas.

"We don't want to see any linkages," said Myron Brilliant, managing director of the chamber's Asia International Division.

Yang downplayed the long-term fallout over the midair collision of a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane, saying both sides seem willing to move beyond the ensuing standoff.

"I think it is good news," he said of this month's agreement securing the return of the American plane. "We should put the event behind us and have a forward-looking attitude."

He acknowledged "difficulties" in the relationship but likened them to family tensions that ebb and flow. …

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