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McAuliffe visits 2 Chinese companies in 8 days

Virginia Terry McAuliffe recently returned from an 11-day trade mission to China and Great Britain.
Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s trip to China and Great Britain last month cost more than $125,000 in taxpayer money, nearly $100,000 of it in airfares, according to documents obtained by Watchdog.org.

The eight-day trade mission included visits to two Chinese companies: Tranlin Paper Co., which previously announced plans to build a $2 billion paper and fertilizer plant in Chesterfield County, and a firm not identified in the documents received through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“The name of the second company is being withheld as disclosure of the name of the company at this time would adversely affect the commonwealth’s financial interest,” said Carlos Hopkins, who handles FOIA requests for the governor’s general counsel office.

Accompanying McAuliffe on his first official overseas trade mission were his wife, Dorothy; Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones; Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore; and representatives of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Tourism Corp., and the Virginia Department of Agricultural Services, according to the governor’s office.

Following state government policy, a Virginia State Police Executive Protective Unit of undetermined size traveled with McAuliffe. “We are prohibited from releasing how many total State Police personnel are assigned,” said Corrine Geller, VSP spokeswoman.

Members of the security detail dined with the governor and flew with the entourage on commercial flights, Geller said.

Airfares, including a three-day trip to the Farnborough International Air Show in England, totaled $99,574.37.

Non-travel costs for the China trip — including lodging, meals and visas — totaled $25,473.66.

The delegation made stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Jinan. Records listed $14,000 in expenditures in Shanghai, where Virginia has a foreign trade office. On-ground costs in Britain were not included.

The governor’s office did not disclose results or details from the China leg of the trip, but announced possible European trade prospects.

McAuliffe, Haymore and other Virginia officials met with representatives of electric utilities purchasing Virginia wood pellets “in hopes of growing existing export deals and establishing new trade relationships,” a statement said.

Additional information can be found here.

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