Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion Hearing

For immediate release:

“How Can California Maximize Trade and Investment Promotion with Asia?”

Sacramento - Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting (D-San Francisco), chair of the Assembly’s Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion and co-chair of the advisory board of ChinaSF, convened the committee’s first public hearing this week. The intent of the committee is to identify best practices to facilitate relationships between the state of California and Asian companies interested in investing here.

“Economic projections suggest that China’s foreign direct investment will reach $2 trillion in the next few years,” Ting said in his opening remarks. “It is our responsibility as state legislators to make sure that California secures as much of those investment dollars as possible. The purpose of establishing a Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion is to identify ways that the Assembly can help assist in those efforts to bring jobs and investment into California.”

Darlene Chiu Bryant, Executive Director, ChinaSF, an economic development entity established to increase business exchange between China and the San Francisco Bay Area, shared her expertise at the hearing.

“Asian companies thinking of entering the California market have lots of questions and need lots of services, Chiu said. “ We take their inquiries and direct them to the proper departments. We are a source of all information and we roll out the red carpet with services.”

Former Sacramento City Councilmember Robert Fong, also a panelist, is the current president of the California-Chongqing Trade and Commerce. Sacramento’s first international trade office is slated to open in the City of Chongqing soon. Fong agreed with Bryant’s assessment that forging trust and building relationships is critical.

“In China, government comes first, business second and relationships third,” Fong said. “So having the Great State of California brand behind you is a tremendous asset. They respect government.”

Lilly Huang, Global Gateway Director for Silicon Valley Bank, has considerable experience in helping companies with international market expansion. She said at the hearing that banking services such as extending a line of credit is not the norm in China and limits our exports.

“If our government could dialog with the Chinese government to overcome those hurdles in banking, our exports would increase,” Huang said.

Brook Taylor, Deputy Director of Communications and Policy, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) also mentioned the importance of government.   He just returned from accompanying Governor Brown and 90 business owners on a trade mission to China.  

“It’s confusing to potential investors from Asia to hear contradictory information from elected officials. We need to be a united voice with a set of standard guidelines.”

John Grubb is the Chief of Staff at the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored, public policy advocacy organization. He expressed the view that the method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States, the EB 5 visa, needs to be removed from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Customs and Immigration Services, and we need to gain the confidence of foreign investors through better oversight of the regional investment consortiums.

The hearing consisted of two panels of experts who shed light on ways to bring jobs and investment to California, and identified how California can promote investment with Asia.

“The surge of Chinese direct investment in the U.S. is real, and the benefits for these investments for local companies are starting to become very tangible,” Ting said as he thanked the panelists for their contributions to the hearing. “We need to maximize those opportunities through open communication and a shared commitment to grow our economies.”

Assemblymember Ting is the Chair of Assembly Democratic Caucus and the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, and he serves on the Budget, Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials and the Revenue and Taxation committees.

CONTACT: Carol Chamberlain, carol.chamberlain@asm.ca.gov, office: 916-319-2019, cell: 916-804-5355