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US West Coast bolsters its strong ties with China

China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-03-20 16:15

Lyu Kun, chief representative of trade and commerce development for Qingdao, an economic powerhouse of a city in Shandong province, flew from her Silicon Valley office last week to Oregon City, Oregon, to attend the 8th Oregon-China business and trade seminar on March 12.

She talked to the 200 attendees at the seminar to promote preferential policies and business potential in her hometown, touting its trans-border e-commerce, trade zone, high-tech industries and the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit, which will convene in Qingdao in June.

Composed of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan, SCO plays an influential role as a regional organization with a focus on security-related issues, specifically counterterrorism cooperation. It's expected to consolidate the member countries this year to energize regional and Asia-Euro trade cooperation.

"Local Oregonians from all walks of life have demonstrated a strong interest in getting to know the investment environment and industry clusters in Qingdao," said Lyu, adding that she had arranged intensive business meetings and presentations during her three-day stay in the Beaver State. "I especially suggest doing business with Qingdao through e-commerce channels and online platforms."

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, together with economic counsel Yang Yihang at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, attended the seminar. Both spoke about mobilizing existing robust business and trade exchanges between Oregon and China.

"As the biggest trading partner of Oregon, China in 2017 has imported a total of $6.5 billion worth of its goods," said Yang. "We have seen a 91-fold increase in trade and imports since 1997, when the number was only a modest $71 million."

A beneficiary of globalization, China has been the biggest recipient of made-in-Oregon commodities for nine consecutive years, said Yang, adding that the direct investment from China in Oregon has reached a total of $275 million.

"The bilateral trade and economic relationship is mutually beneficial and has created a win-win situation for our people," he said.

One day later, the California Assembly in Sacramento held an informal hearing that was initiated by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, and Assembly member Philip Ting, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion to examine trade and investment activities between California and China.

Quirk-Silva said: "At a time when the current federal administration has repeatedly referred to 'unfair trade deals' and strained California's economic partnership with China, we wanted to take a level-headed approach to discussions on how to foster mutually beneficial trade and investment strategies."

During the hearing, members of the committees heard from a representative from China's consulate in San Francisco, as well as the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz). After their presentations, a panel of private sector business and economic leaders shared innovative and high-impact initiatives their organizations are undertaking to strengthen trade relationships between China and California.

China is California's third-largest trading partner after Mexico and Canada and purchases more than $16 billion worth of exports annually.

"At a time when Washington DC is hurting our trading relationships around the world, the state has to reiterate its strong economic and cultural ties with China," said Ting. "As China's economy and stature grow, California's relationship with that country will prove to be even more critical."

Quirk-Silva added, "I am pleased that Chair Ting and the select committee are able to join us as we discuss the important role policymakers can play in supporting Californian businesses' access to markets in China."


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