Friday, January 22, 2021
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Chinese Champagne Courtesy the Commonwealth

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A local headline revised from "Official: City, Wanzhou near trade agreements" to "Chinese delegation makes rounds." A trade deal that cannot be made public until finalized.  No participation by Bill Bolling. The benefit: an invitation to participate in a year-long garden exposition in Chongqing. Where's the ROI?

"I hope we can develop business relationships and promote better understanding of the Chinese culture and people. We're all human beings living on the same planet." - Waynesboro Mayor Frank Lucente

There are countless visits and relationships like the one in Waynesboro across the United States. Harmless on their face, possibly even beneficial. But you'd bet the Mayor of Waynesboro and his business delegation and their counterparts nationwide haven't read their Sun Tzu. And if the "executive deputy governor" of Wanzhou was present, where was someone representing the Commonwealth? How about the fellow appointed by the Governor as the chief jobs officer? While Wanzhou is not technically a state, it has a population if 1.6 million (a tad bit larger than Augusta county's) and the Chongquing exposition is a function of a direct-controlled municipality; translate: a Bejing economic functionary.

"We have a very good first impression of Waynesboro," said Bai Wennong, executive deputy governor of Wanzhou. "It's very beautiful."
Wennong said the delegates are especially interested in opportunities to import agricultural products from the Valley.

Agricultural products? A trade success? For the Chinese, maybe.