Hangzhou, China (September 9, 2009) - On "triple nine day" (09/09/09), a day considered to be "lucky" in the Chinese culture for its association with the spirit of longevity, Governor Mitch Daniels joined Columbus-based Cummins, Inc., for a major product announcement, promoted the state's agricultural assets for future trade opportunities and renewed support for Indiana's Chinese sister-state.
Daniels began his day traveling to Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province, Indiana's Chinese sister-state. In 1987, then Governor Robert Orr signed a sister-state agreement with his Zhejiang counterpart at a ceremony in Indianapolis. At least six Zhejiang delegations have visited Indiana over the past 25 years, most recently in August 2008.
"Everywhere here in China so far we see evidence of great dynamism, even in a world recession," said Daniels. "The pro growth policy that is evident here is much like what has helped make America great, and we're determined that Indiana's economy will be what Zhejiang Province's economy has become in China."
Daniels first stop in Hangzhou was at an event to unveil a new Cummins, Inc.-powered hybrid bus line purchased by the local transit authority as a part of the province's efforts to use cleaner and more fuel efficient technology for public transportation. The hybrid buses use 20 percent to 30 percent less fuel than conventional buses and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Hangzhou Public Transit Authority currently owns more than 1,300 Cummins-powered, traditionally-fueled buses and is beginning to transition this year to hybrid buses.
Purdue University Vice Provost for Engagement Dr. Victor Lechtenberg joined the governor for a meeting with the director general and other senior officials from the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Agriculture to discuss the agricultural ties between Zhejiang and Indiana. The government agency is responsible for implementation of the national agricultural policy, rural economic development and welfare and coordination of outside investment. After receiving a briefing on the state of agriculture in Zhejiang, Daniels and Lechtenberg discussed the breadth of Zhejiang agriculture, Indiana's pork, poultry and soybean exports and Purdue's role in agricultural technology development.
"Agriculture in Zhejiang is much more diversified than in Indiana, but there remains a need in Zhejiang for many of the agricultural products that are produced in our state, so I think there is great potential and opportunity for future trade," said Lechtenberg.
In the afternoon, Governor Daniels met with Communist Party of China Provincial Secretary Zhao Hongzhu, the highest ranking government official in the province who is also chairman of the Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress, the provincial legislative body. Daniels thanked Zhao for the continuing relationship with the province and discussed opportunities for future economic development.
To conclude the day, Party Secretary Zhao honored Governor Daniels by hosting a traditional Chinese banquet for the Indiana delegation.
Tens of thousands of Chinese couples are reported to marry today in hopes that "triple nine day" will bring luck and eternal love to their marriage. The Mandarin pronunciation of the number nine is pronounced the same as the word, "jiu" which means "forever, perpetual or eternal." (There have been no reported weddings involving the Indiana delegation.)
Photos, video and audio clips from the governor's trip, including his remarks at the Cummins, Inc. hybrid bus launch event are available here: http://www.in.gov/gov/asia09.htm
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