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Chinese Cars

Environmental car salesman of 2005:
Maurice Strong, Meet George W. Bush

by Judi McLeod

January 4, 2005

Less than a year after first setting up shop in China as a self-professed "environmental consultant", Kyoto Protocol architect Maurice Strong is a mega Chinese car salesman.

among the 250,000 cars the company in which he's a partner will export to the United States is the enviro dreaded SUV.

Strong, a former senior adviser to UN Secretary General Kofi annan, is current adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and adviser to the president of the World Bank.

Last January Strong, who set out to tackle China's burgeoning pollution by advising business and government on ecological matters, was apartment hunting in Beijing.

Strong's main mission in China was to replace the United States of america with China as a world leader on ecology.

"He's always been at the cutting edge of things, and he feels that China could set an example for the rest of the world," said Earl Drake, a former Canadian ambassador to China who is now a project director at the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development. "China will soon be the No. 2 economy in the world. That will put huge pressure on the environment."

Nicholas Sonntag, a Canadian who heads up the Beijing office of CH2M–one of the world's leading environmental companies–had even more faith in Strong.

"They're taking a big risk," Sonntag said of China. "They're determined to be the economic engine of the world. This is why Maurice is here–to help them think things through."

Where Strong is concerned, business seems to have won out over the Chinese environment.

In an exclusive news report, The Detroit News revealed last Sunday that Strong had emerged as a key player in Visionary Vehicles' bid to import Chinese-made cars to the United States.

"a newly formed company led by auto entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin and the investment banking firm allen & Co. has signed the first-ever deal to import cars made in China for sale in the United States," The Detroit News reported.

Bricklin, known best for bringing the ultra-cheap Yugo car to the U.S. market in the 1980s is to lead the new import wave in 2007 in an agreement between New York-based Visionary Vehicles LLC and Chery automobile Co., one of the fastest-growing players in the fledgling Chinese auto industry.

Touted as a savior of Chinese ecology, Strong is a partner in Visionary Vehicles.

Bricklin said that design work on five all-new Chery vehicles–including two sedans and a sport utility vehicle–has been underway since last year.

So Strong, in China to save the environment, is involved with a company manufacturing SUVs in a plan whose goal is to price the vehicles 30 percent below competing models in the U.S. market.

Bringing 250,000 new cars to market in less than three years means having to pass U.S. regulations on safety and vehicle emissions–a process that is virtually unprecedented.

Strong's claims on saving the environment while netting profits as an entrepreneur surface from time to time in the mainline media.

It's a stretch missed by John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace U.S., who in august 2002, wrote an article entitled George Bush, Meet Maurice Strong.

"The study of leadership is a great american obsession," Passacantando wrote. "We make rich men and women out of the historian who can teach us something new about those who lead us in crisis or into new eras."

Passacantando went on to look at the profiles of two "modern leaders", Bush and Strong, "two men with backgrounds in the energy industry whose emerging legacies look like a Hollywood caricature of good vs. evil."

In ending the piece, Passacantando wrote: "The great historians will have to sort out why these two men differed so much, although at the current rate, the kids the world over will want to know who stopped Bush; and Strong is on the shortlist to do that right now."

Within the year, history closed the chapter and now it could be: "Maurice Strong, Meet George W. Bush".

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at: [email protected]

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