Gov. Brown to Seek Chinese Investments for California

After a delayed departure in order to celebrate his 75th birthday at home, California Governor Jerry Brown heads to China on Tuesday for a weeklong visit. As part of his effort to rejuvenate his state’s flagging economy, Brown will focus on cultivating opportunities for Chinese businesses to invest in California’s diverse industries. From the Los Angeles Times:

While abroad, Brown plans to sign pacts forging government research partnerships and limiting Chinese greenhouse gas emissions. He’ll announce deals involving California clean-technology companies — electric vehicle makers, a firm that converts trash to electricity — and reinforce his mantra that good environmental policy is good economics.

But mostly, Brown hopes the trip will translate into Chinese money for California.

“We’re going to facilitate billions of dollars of investments,” the governor predicted during a speech in Sacramento last week. “Not overnight, but over time.”

Some experts said Brown’s foray could help make Chinese companies feel welcome in the U.S. at a time when the federal government is sending mixed signals.

Brown also aims to play catch up with other states, as California has not had a trade office operating in China for more than ten years. From the Mercury News:

The governor and the business leaders accompanying him are trying to rebuild the state’s official relationship with China after the state closed its two trade offices and others around the world a decade ago in a cost-cutting move. California finds itself playing catch-up to other states that have had a vigorous presence in China for years.

California, which would be the world’s ninth largest economy if it were a separate country, will open a trade office in Shanghai during Brown’s visit. The Bay Area Council, a coalition of business interests from Silicon Valley and the rest of the Bay Area, is raising about $1 million a year in private money to operate it.

[…] Technology, life sciences, real estate, banking, health care and agriculture are among the industries state business leaders and officials hope to target. The concentration of skilled technical engineers and the clean-energy sector in Silicon Valley also are draws for emerging companies, along with Chinese tourism to California.

State and local tourism officials are among those joining Brown on the trip, along with winemakers, cheese producers and almond growers. In all, about 75 business and policy leaders from a cross section of California industries are joining the mission, which will include stops in the capital city, Beijing, as well as Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Read more about California’s relations with China, via CDT.


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