Economic review

California, China ties called of special importance

2018-03-14 14:10:00 (Beijing Time)         China Daily


The California state Assembly on Tuesday held a hearing to examine trade and investment activities with China, as the country has become the state's third-largest trading partner and leading source of foreign direct investment.

"At a time when the federal government unfortunately is moving in a less positive direction (on relations with China), I think it is time for California to reiterate that the relationship between California and China is extraordinarily important both culturally and economically," Assembly member Phil Ting said.

He spoke on a panel convened by the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy, and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion.

Ting said the relationship will become increasingly more important as Chinese companies rapidly expand abroad. "We obviously want to continue to have that strong trade relationship with Chinese companies," he said.

In 2017, California exported $16.4 billion worth of goods to China, ranking China as California's third-largest trade partner after Mexico and Canada. Investors from China are a leading source of foreign direct investment in California.

International trade and foreign investment are important components of the state's $2.6 trillion economy, supporting more than 4 million jobs. California leads the nation in exportrelated jobs, according to the committees' data.

Chinese investment in real estate and other areas created jobs for Americans, said Ren Faqiang, deputy Chinese consul general in San Francisco. He gave the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Chinese real estate developer Oceanwide as examples.

ICBC has 133 employees in offices on the West Coast, but only three are from China and the rest are US citizens; the Oceanwide Center, expected to be the second-tallest building in San Francisco when completed, created more than 1,000 construction-related jobs and is expected to create another 1,000 management-related jobs when the mixed-use building is put into operation, Ren said at the hearing.

"California is just so close to China; I think this might be the major reason why Chinese investors prefer California," Guo Ruda, commercial attaché of the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, said at the hearing.

There are 92 flights per week connecting Los Angeles and Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Qingdao and Changsha.

The cooperation between China and California has deepened as China is increasingly focused on addressing climate change through the development and deployment of new technologies, Ren said.