Business exchange makes LA key stop
Updated: 2012-02-14 15:28
By Wang Jun (China Daily)
China Shipping Group has been operating as one of the key cargo transportation providers between China and the US. [Provided to China Daily]
LOS ANGELES - Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to Los Angeles - the third and final stop of his US trip - is expected to bring the US Pacific gateway even closer to China after a 30-year relationship.
"I am honored that Vice-President Xi Jinping accepted my invitation to visit Los Angeles as we continue to foster relationships that were renewed during my trade mission to China in December (of 2011)," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told China Daily.
Xi will arrive in Los Angeles Thursday and will visit a Chinese company and speak at a luncheon with the local business community.
Villaraigosa observed that Xi's visit "is part of a growing relationship between China and Los Angeles in an effort to create jobs, strengthen economies and expand cultural exchange between Los Angeles and China."
Over the past decade, US-China trade has increased dramatically, jumping from $121.5 billion in 2001 to $456.8 billion in 2010, according to the US-China Business Council.
Los Angeles has been playing a key role in the growing US-China business relationship.
"The Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) handles about 40 percent of total US trade with China. Indeed, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together handle almost 36 percent of total trade between China and the US," writes "Growing Together - China and Los Angeles County", a research report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), published in May 2010.
Research statistics show that the total Chinese imports unloaded in the LACD were $132.4 billion and total US exports to China through the LACD came to $22.9 billion in 2009. Both are ranked first in its category.
The report is the first in a series of LAEDC reports. Its goal is to highlight "the long, deep and growing bonds between China and Los Angeles County and how they have impacted the development of both areas."
Ferdinando Guerra, international economist and principle researcher of the project, said among all key findings, the most impressive to him is the "strong presence of the Chinese community" in Los Angeles County, which includes the City of Los Angeles and 87 surrounding cities. "Today, the county has more residents of Chinese descent - estimated at over 360,000 persons - than any other in the US," Guerra said.
Similar to China's five-year plans, in 2009 the Los Angeles County created its first consensus Strategic Plan for Economic Development, which contains a specific objective to attract more foreign direct investment into the county during the five-year implementation period from 2010-14.
China is one of the most important sources of foreign direct investment to Los Angeles. The Chinese mainland and Hong Kong combined would rank as the ninth largest source of foreign-owned-and-affiliated companies in Los Angeles County, with 116 primary locations and 11 secondary locations.
The largest industry for China is wholesale trade (71 establishments), followed by transportation and warehousing (28 establishments).
In Los Angeles, Chinese-owned businesses support 600 jobs and $32 million in wages.
For Xi's visit, Los Angeles will showcase its port, where China Shipping Group has been operating as one of the key cargo transportation providers between China and the US.
The two major seaports (Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach) make up the largest port complex in the nation, according to LAEDC. The port complex is number one in the nation in both cargo tonnage and containers handled.
Rachel Campbell, media relations manager of the Port of Los Angeles, said China is the port's most important trading partner, with trade totaling of $120.7 billion in 2010.
More than 90 percent of the port's two-way trade is with China.
China Shipping (North America) has been operating for more than a decade at the Port of Los Angeles. Even though its headquarters is in New Jersey, China Shipping's business is heavily centered in West Coast - Los Angeles in particular.
According to China Shipping Group, the company operates four routes between China and the US - Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle on the West Coast, and New York on the East Coast.
In 2011, China Shipping had a total cargo of 850,000 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) between China and the US.
More than 600,000 TEU of them were from or to Los Angeles.
Among all the merchandise that China Shipping transported to Los Angeles, about 35 percent goes to inland through railroad or by trucks.
China Shipping Group launched its first route connecting China and the US in 1999. A 2,400-TEU ship named Trade Apollo arrived at the Port of Los Angeles on Dec 5.
Five years later, China Shipping had its own terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.
Beside its already strong economic bonds with China, Los Angeles found itself with other advantages - such as a relatively low cost for a professional management lifestyle and a diversified culture - to draw in Chinese investment.
The American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association's 2008 survey found that "Los Angeles was 10th in the nation in cost for a professional management lifestyle after New York, San Francisco and Orange County."
With those advantages, Los Angeles successfully recruited Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer BYD, which stands for Build Your Dream, to locate its North American headquarters in the city in October.
"BYD's newly renovated facility, located along the Figueroa Corridor in the Downtown Auto District, will bring hundreds of engineering, management and indirect jobs to Los Angeles. BYD's presence is a significant boost to the Administration's effort to expand the City's clean tech sector," according to the a statement from the City of Los Angeles.
"Together Los Angeles County and China can take the lead on pressing global issues such as renewable energy and climate change," according to the LAEDC report.