Office set up as link between California and China

Updated: 2013-04-13 14:19

By Yu Ran in Shanghai (China Daily)

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The California-China Office of Trade and Investment was launched in Shanghai on Friday as the US state's first foreign trade office in a decade, to attract China's huge foreign investment pool and bolster trade between the state and China.

"California is the gateway to the Pacific and this office in Shanghai will enhance trade collaborations and offer more employment opportunities for both sides," said California Governor Jerry Brown at the opening ceremony.

The office will serve as a hub for Californian companies interested in entering or expanding in China, the world's second-largest economy, and Chinese companies seeking investment opportunities in California, the world's ninth largest economy by GDP.

Robert Griffiths, the US consul general in Shanghai, said: "Total trade between our two nations has increased by over 300 percent since China joined the WTO."

The privately-funded office will be staffed and operated by the Bay Area Council, which has deep roots in China and organized the trade and investment mission's delegation of about 90 business, economic development, investment and policy leaders.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said: "The office ushers in an exciting new era of cooperation and partnership between two of the world's largest economies by providing California with a valuable and necessary portal for attracting Chinese investment and expanding trade."

Mike Rossi, senior adviser to Brown on jobs and business development, said: "California and China have maintained a robust trade and investment relationship, but the potential to expand that connectivity is limitless." Rossi said the office will focus on creating business-to-business connections.

Apart from a $1.5 billion China-California investment partnership announced on Wednesday, four more deals worth almost $300 million were signed on Friday between Chinese and Californian enterprises to develop sectors including pharmaceuticals, high-technology, renewable energy, and innovation funding in universities.

Among this collaboration, Wuhan Hongye International is investing $100 million of private equity into Singpoli Capital, based in Arcadia, California, to develop green energy, biochemistry, media, high technology and real estate projects in California.

The California-China Agriculture and Export Forum was staged on Friday afternoon to advance the relationship between Chinese importers and product suppliers from California.