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Left Coast, Right Coast - difference seems night and day

By Chang Jun | Updated: 2018-03-13 06:12

As the China-bashing and threats of a trade war from the East Coast grow more intense, on the West Coast the enthusiasm for launching more frequent and concrete business and trade collaborations with China just keeps getting stronger.

Last week, Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced a major initiative called "Opportunity Alaska:China Trade Mission"to build on the longstanding economic relationship between Alaska and China.

According to a statement issued by the governor's office on March 5, the trade mission will help businesses in the "Last Frontier" state build new relationships in China and foster existing ones.

China has been the top export market for Alaskan goods since 2011. In 2017 the state exported $1.32 billion worth of goods, including $796.2 million in seafood and $64.6 million in fishmeal, which has meant work for thousands of local fishermen.

Alaska also exported $355.8 million in mineral ore, $49 million in energy, and $48 million and $5.9 million in forest products and machinery respectively to China last year. The two sides are pursuing potential partnerships for a natural gas line project.

Governor Walker, Director of International Trade Shelley James and Commerce Commissioner Mike Navarre will travel with the business delegation selected to participate in the mission, which runs from May 19 to 26.

Through high-level meetings and networking events with Chinese government and industry representatives, the mission participants are expected to engage with key decision makers to expand Alaska's reach into the world's second-largest economy.

In California, exchanges across a wide spectrum of areas with China remain vibrant and dynamic in major cities, including Sacramento.

ChinaSF, the China desk initiated by former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2008, celebrated its 10th anniversary last week by announcing that it has recruited about 100 Chinese companies, provided counsel to over 1,000 Chinese companies and attracted more than $5.1 billion worth of economic impact for the city.

"ChinaSF is a leading example for international economic development in the United States," said San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell, adding the city welcomes business from China.

Among its many achievements, ChinaSF has established three offices in China — in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen and facilitated the first MOU China signed to focus on an energy efficiency initiative.

ChinaSF also co-hosted the first Invest in USA Real Estate Summit with former US ambassador to China Gary Locke in Beijing, resulting in Z&L Properties now owning 13 projects throughout California, and signed an MOU with the Bank of China to increase RMB denominated commerce.

"San Francisco is uniquely positioned," said Darlene Chiu Bryant, executive director of ChinaSF. "We are the first city with offices and boots on the ground in China to work closely with companies seriously looking at San Francisco as a destination for their entry into the US market."

On Tuesday, deputy consul-general at the Chinese Consulate General Ren Faqiang will speak at a hearing of the California State Assembly on the status and continuing economic opportunities with China, one of the Golden State's largest trading partners.

With the purpose of briefing the CA legislature on California's trade activities with China, the state assembly's committee on jobs, economic development and the Economy and the select committee on Asia/California trade and investment initiate hearings to promote the concept of expanding two-way trade and investment opportunities with China.

In addition to the existing collaborations between California and China in hi-tech and clean energy, opportunities in Fintech, AI, and biotech life sciences continue to draw interest from China.

Interesting the difference a coast can make.

Contact the writer at junechang@chinadailyusa.com.

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