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Next market for Carolina tobacco may be China

Posted August 13, 2009

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— The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is considering exporting one of the state's biggest cash crops to China.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Thursday that, with an increase in the North Carolina's cigarette tax and a smoking ban set to begin, tobacco farmers are preparing to take a hit in business.

Web only: Troxler on China trip Web only: Troxler on China trip

Two counties – Johnston and Wilson – accounted for 13 percent of the nation's tobacco production in 2008.

"We're going to need to export 80 percent of tobacco that we grow in North Carolina in the coming years," said Troxler, who recently returned from a recent seven-day trip to China. "Because of all the different factors coming together, we've got to look for additional markets."

With a population of 1.3 billion people, China is the world's largest and most populous country with approximately 330 million smokers.

"China is a market, where if we crack that market, it could rescue the tobacco industry in North Carolina," he said.

Troxler said the country is now considering creating an agriculture office in North Carolina.

The state is also looking to expand exports for soybeans, cotton, poultry and pork, he said..

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 14, 2009

    Armando, you know that tobacco kills, but it's ok because "we hardly make anything in this country anymore"? Holy smokes what a rationalization!

    And who said anything about banning it? I just want to know how people can sleep at night knowing that their product addicts and kills people...including the 3000 teenagers that start smoking every day.

    It's an ETHICS thing. And rationalizing this is the same as the coke & heroin growers in their countries. If not, why not?

  • GWALLY Aug 14, 2009

    Darn...don't they know smoking will stunt their growth????

  • Iwasasoldier4u Aug 14, 2009

    What a bunch of hypocrites there are in politics! It is okay to grow tobacco, it is great to sell it to other countries, but smoking in this country is soon to be illegal. When will these morons learn that we are fed up.

  • doubletap357 Aug 14, 2009

    On the bright side maybe the Chinese will all get lung cancer and we can start manufacturing things in America again. That's one way to defeat them without having to nuke them.

  • shellrocks2000 Aug 14, 2009

    I agree with Armando de Cabana Boy, everything kills people. It's someone's right to smoke or not to smoke. Myself, I'm a non-smoker and come from a family of tobacco farmers. Everyone has the right to do what they want to do, its called being an American.

  • Armando de Cabana Boy Aug 14, 2009

    Tobacco kills people. How unethical can people be in the name of money?--HereandNow99-- Eating at Burger King or McDonalds kills people. Folks do things everyday that are not good for them or may kill them eventually. I do not smoke- I quit 20 years ago. However, people have a right to smoke and farmers have a right to produce whatever crops they can sell. For Christ's sake, we hardly make anything in this country anymore, someone has to contribute to the GDP!

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 14, 2009

    Tobacco kills people. How unethical can people be in the name of money? How is this "we don't care if it kills, we need to feed our family" rationalization any different for people who grow cocaine & heroin?

  • arnoldh569 Aug 14, 2009

    US tobacco companies already sell more than $100M worth of tobacco to China. This isn't news.

  • diesel Aug 13, 2009

    Well it,s time for the farmers to stop growing anything other than what they need to eat ond so on and see the rest to others at the local markets.And the tobacco companies can close all thier plants here and move them to china and grow the tobacco there.then this country wouldn,t have to worry about who smokes and who doesn,t.Everyone can just grow what they need to get by.That would get goverment out of it all together which would be good.