May 19, 1998
Crawford to Meet With Chinese Delegation
to Discuss Florida Citrus Exports to China
TALLAHASSEE Florida Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford will meet Wednesday in Orlando with a high-level delegation from China in a continuing dialogue aimed at opening the Chinese market for Florida citrus.
Crawford will meet with and host a dinner for the delegation, led by Tian Jiyun, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. (The position is similar to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.) In the 1980s, Jiyun was a vice premier involved in converting Chinese agriculture from a centrally planned to a free-market system.
"I am extremely pleased to have the opportunity to host Mr. Jiyun and his delegation in Florida, and to continue discussions about exporting Florida citrus to the People's Republic of China," Crawford said. "In recent years we have been developing significant relationships with political, agricultural and trade officials through meetings in both China and Florida."
Last November, Crawford led an agricultural trade and marketing mission to Asia, which included stops in China and a meeting with Zheng Yi, vice chairman of the National People's Congress, Committee on Foreign Affairs, who is a member of the delegation visiting Florida. Other delegations from China have also visited Florida in recent years to tour farms and processing facilities.
After meeting with Crawford and other representatives of Florida agriculture on Wednesday, the Chinese delegation will visit Zellwin Farms on Thursday afternoon, before departing for New York City on Friday.
In addition to Jiyun and Yi, the delegation includes Wu Jinhua, vice chairman of the National People's Congress, Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before stopping in Florida, the delegation was on a tour of South America.
"China represents a vast potential market for Florida citrus and other agricultural products," Crawford said. "By developing relationships with officials at the highest levels of the People's Republic of China, we are paving the way for greater economic returns to Florida growers of citrus and other agricultural products, as well as to Florida's economy."
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