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California & China Form Air Quality Partnership

(CN) - California and China will work together on improving air quality under the first agreement of its kind, signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown Jr. and China's Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian.

The agreement encourages collaboration between California and China on air-quality measures, energy efficiency, public health policy, environmental protection and economic growth.

"The agreement calls for cooperative measures including the exchange of strategies and information on pollution control systems, collaboration on research and joint workshops and trainings," Brown's office said in a statement.

China created its Ministry of Environmental Protection in 2008, the office added.

Brown announced that he had met yesterday with Xu Shaoshi, the chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which oversees efforts to address climate change and much of the government's economic strategy.

California has been in "significant diplomatic and business exchanges" with China for over a year, the office said, noting that Xi Jinping, then vice president and current president of China, visited California in February 2012.

Later that year, the Brown administration convened the inaugural Joint Economic Committee between California and China's Jiangsu Province. He also hosted or met with two Chinese delegations.

"This week and next, the governor will meet with Chinese government and business leaders, highlight bilateral trade and investment opportunities between the two regions and open a new trade and investment office," according to the governor's office statement.

The trade and investment mission will include events in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen through April 16, the office added.

Senior administration officials accompanied Brown on the mission, along with a delegation from the Bay Area Council, which includes 90 business, economic development, investment and policy leaders from throughout California.

The air quality agreement will remain operative for two years, but either party can withdraw with 45 days written notice to the other party.

Brown also signed an agreement Wednesday with China's Ministry of Commerce and met with the American Chamber of Commerce-Beijing.

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