NORWALK, Conn. — State Sen. Bob Duff recently returned from a visit to China to meet with officials and gain a deeper appreciation for a 1.3 billion person country and economic superpower.
“We have a number of companies that do business with China,” Duff told the Daily Voice, speaking of the Connecticut businesses that trade with the country. “It’s important for us in Connecticut to have those relationships and to foster goodwill because we do so much business with (that) country.”
Duff (D-Norwalk, Darien) led an October delegation of the Chinese United States Exchange Foundation. He said the leadership position was a “big honor” — the lieutenant governor of Wisconsin led the trip last year.
Duff’s trip included the traditional sightseeing attractions such as the Great Wall — “Unless you’re there, it’s unexplainable,” he said — as well as meetings with local officials and schoolchildren.
One official who represents a sister province-state of Connecticut visited Duff in Beijing. Duff said she plans to visit the state later this month.
While on the trip, Duff said he was struck by the planning that goes into building China’s mega cities.
“They plan well in advance, and they have a vision about where they want to be in the future,” Duff said. “It’s very important for us in the U.S. to stay focused ourselves on those kinds of issues so we’re able to compete.”
Duff was particularly moved by the Chinese system of transportation. He said Fairfield County could follow in China’s footsteps to improve commute times.
“We rode the Maglev train in Shanghai,” Duff said. “That train is maybe the fastest in the world. It goes 250 mph. If we had trains that ran faster or (on) new technology, we could certainly get people in and out of New York City much quicker.”
“It would make peoples' commutes a lot better,” Duff added.
Overall, Duff said international relationships shouldn’t be limited to the executive branch. Legislators, too, should partake in meeting those from other countries.
“Connecticut has some really good relationships (with China) already,” Duff said. “Hopefully I can help develop that more which will be good for the state government and business community.”
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