China, California ink MOU to boost economic ties

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao sign a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint working group that will bolster trade and investment cooperation between California and China in Beijing’s Hunan Hotel on April 10. The joint working group is the fruit of talks between Governor Brown and Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to California in February 2012. The two leaders reached a consensus on further strengthening economic ties between California and China. Photo: Ding Yi/Sino-US.com

In a bid to bolster bilateral trade and investment, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a joint working group in Beijing on Wednesday.

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The itinerary of the trade mission events

The joint working group, which is the result of talks in 2012 in which Governor Brown and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement on further strengthening trade and investment cooperation between California and China, is comprised of California state, the Ministry of Commerce, Jiangsu, Shandong and Guangdong provinces, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities.  China's Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Mechanic and Electronic Products and California's Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development will serve as representatives of the business community in the group.

"You can be sure that over the next several years that this union will have been the beginning of a lot of creative energy and output and production that will improve the lives of millions of people," said Brown at the signing ceremony.

The working group's activities will include: regular exchanges of information, annual seminars on trade and investment cooperation, trade missions and formation of strategic relationships between cities in California and China. The MOU also identifies nine key sectors for cooperation, including infrastructure, biotechnology, information technology, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, tourism, environmental protection and exhibitions.

"With their own industrial advantages, most of the Chinese members of the working group have established sister state and city ties with California and are willing to develop bilateral collaboration in the key fields of infrastructure, biotechnology, information technology, manufacturing and so on," said Wang, stressing that the establishment of the working group is bound to advance the bilateral economic ties to higher levels.

"The GDP of California, which is the most populous state in the US, makes it the 9th largest economy in the world," said Wang, adding that California has established a leading position in the information technology, biotechnology, aviation, education and film making industries in the US, contributing to the creation of job opportunities in the country.

Wang hailed California's role in promoting China-US economic exchanges, which date back to more than 150 years ago.

In 2012, California's exports to China totaled about $14 billion, overtaking all the other American states. The nearly $4 billion of computer and electronic products that California exports to China per year account for the largest share of the state's exports, followed by waste and scrap, non-electrical machinery and transportation equipment.

According to Wang, one third of the Chinese exports headed to the US go through California's ports.

China's direct foreign investment in California has reached  $1.4 billion, with the number of investment projects ranking first among the US' 50 states, according to the Asia Society, a nonprofit organization that promotes cooperation between the US and Asia. The organization also predicted that California would gain additional Chinese investments worth tens of billions of dollars by 2020.

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