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“The corruption and cronyism in our political system is threatening our nation’s prosperity. I want to be a new voice for the people of North Carolina’s 4th District, to ensure the American Dream is alive and thriving for all Americans.”
China’s N.C. love affair
Across the state line, Virginia’s faded South Hill was once a thriving tobacco town. After wrapping up a meeting here, Garrett heads back to North Carolina, pleased with his day. The tobacco buyers he met agreed to pay about $2.18 a pound for 19 bales. At more than 700 pounds per bale and 15 cents or more per pound than others are offering, the deal will gross more than $30,000. “We’ve done pretty well,” he says. Farmers like Garrett are the soul of Tar Heel agriculture, powering the state’s economy. “It’s made a life for me,” says Garrett, who farms about 100 acres of tobacco near Vicksboro.
On this day, though, the buyers crucial to his future are from the opposite side of the globe. Deqing Liang and his delegation from China Tobacco International (North America) Ltd. are based in Raleigh, but Garrett’s tobacco will eventually go up in the smoke of premium Chinese cigarette brands such as Huanghelou and Panda. Last year, North Carolina sent China about $184 million in tobacco, while overall exports to the Asian nation topped $2.1 billion.
Garrett’s tobacco sale exemplifies the degree to which China has penetrated North Carolina commerce, from bucolic family farms to golf courses, urban apartment projects and pharmaceutical and computer factories, plus new industries in moribund towns.
Chinese spin on the candidate