China trade mission a victim of unsettled budget

The uncertainty over a state budget forced the postponement of a planned early-August trade mission to China.

Gov. Mark Dayton was to lead the mission, designed to improve trade between Minnesota and China.

“Given the uncertainty of this situation, we have decided to postpone the trip,” Assistant Commissioner Charlie Poster of the state Agriculture Department wrote in an email today to people interested in going on the trip.

“We want to make certain that the trip is a success, enabling our producers to meet potential customers and key contacts in China, and we don’t want to ask you to make firm plans for this trip until the budget situation has been resolved,” Poster added.

While the Legislature and Dayton have approved agriculture program funding, the rest of the state budget remains unsettled, including money for an office doing much of the trade trip planning.

A special legislative session will be needed to finish the two-year budget, but Dayton and Republicans who control the Legislature appear far apart. If no new budget is written by July 1, current appropriations run out and much of state government will shut down.

No new dates have been scheduled for the trip, one of the first casualties of the budget stalemate.

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