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Fauquier, Chinese share goals, barbecue lunch

Wednesday, May. 4 | By James Ivancic
Fauquier County Cedar Run District Supervisor Rick Gerhardt shakes hands with Yu Bingai, deputy director of the standing committee of the Jintan People's Congress. A sister city agreement is being forged.
Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
A lunch of Virginia-style barbecue pulled pork and an exchange of gifts capped the signing of a letter of intent for Fauquier County to establish a sister city relationship with the Chinese city of Jintan.

The letter was signed in the Warrren Green building by Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Rick Gerhardt and Yu Bingcai, deputy director of the standing committee of Jintan People's Congress.

The relationship could open up businesses opportunities and cultural exchanges beneficial to both, explained Miles Friedman, director of the county's economic development office.

It could be felt in areas such as trade, science, technology, tourism and elsewhere, Gerhardt explained in his remarks..

Wednesday's ceremony caps an involvement that dates back to 2013 when then County Supervisor Lee Sherbeyn and a delegation from the Washington-China Chamber of Commerce visited Jintan.

Jimmy Yang, representing that chamber, said he hoped the relationship with Fauquier would result in cooperation between the two in many areas.

Yang is president of Universal Stones, an importer, fabricator and installer of marble and granite in Warrenton. The latter was established in 2012 through the efforts of the county's economic development office and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance.

Friedman said the forging of international relationships such as this one takes years to develop as the partners get to know each other and their needs and develop trust.

“This raises our profile and credibility elsewhere in China and Asia,” he said. The county will be working with the Washington-China Chamber of Commerce on the next steps.

Jintan has a population of 559,000. It's in southeastern China. It has an economic development zone, two tourist resorts, and is served by a high-speed railway built within the past year, according to Yu, whose remarks were translated.

He said Jintan “is a new emerging industrial city” with a focus on new energy, manufacturing equipment, textiles and garments, and auto and automobile parts manufacturing.

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