California Businesses Pitch for Chinese FDI

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by Youngjin Kim
Sacramento hosted its first ever SelectCalifornia Investment Summit in June [Image: Wikimedia user J.smith]

Following Governor Brown’s trip to China, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) held a series of investment summits in Sacramento and Los Angeles to promote closer partnership between Californian and Chinese green businesses in June.

The first of the two summits was held in Sacramento between a delegation of 22 Chinese investors and 14 Californian business groups including Bay Area Council and California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. Californian business groups presented their projects and investment opportunities in clean technology, water innovation, sustainable development and zero emission vehicles. Los Angeles World Trade Center of the Economic Development Corporation hosted the second portion of the Summit. The LA Summit pitched projects in bioscience, advanced transportation, and aerospace to Chinese investors along with other business delegations from Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia. Shortly after the California Summit, the largest number of Chinese investors in history attended the SelectUSA Investment Summit in DC.

The close tie in business promotion between California and China began in April 2013 when the two signed the Chinese Provinces and US California Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation. The joint effort marked the first agreement between a subnational entity and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Since the Working Group’s inception, California and China have collaborated to promote trade and investment through enhanced cooperation and communication in the key areas of infrastructure, biotechnology, energy, and environmental protection. The joint effort to boost the volume of trade and investment also resulted in the official establishment of the California-China Business Summit during China Week in LA in May 2016. The second annual California-China Business Summit in May preceded the GO-Biz Sacramento Summit.

California secured a total of 441 incoming investment deals from China between 2000 and the first quarter of 2017. Foreign Direct Investment, spearheaded by China, has created 631,500 jobs and contributes largely to the economic growth and future of renewable energy and sustainability projects in California. The increasing attention on clean technology addressing climate change at various China-California business summits recently suggests a deepening engagement in environmental cooperation between China and California as leaders in climate efforts.

Youngjin Kim is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a student at the George Washington University.