Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Monday signed a non-binding agreement with the Investment Promotion Agency of the People’s Republic of China. The mayor, who plans a trip to China later this year, said the memorandum of understanding encourages more economic activity between China and L.A.
Villaraigosa spoke to a group of Chinese business leaders in the ornate Tom Bradley Room at the top of City Hall as he prepared to sign the agreement.
"Today both Los Angeles and China are taking a giant leap forward together to help these businesses reach great heights," the mayor said.
He offered few details on how the agreement would work, saying only that the city would encourage L.A. businesses to invest in China, and the Investment Promotion Corporation of China's Commerce Ministry would encourage Chinese businesses to invest in L.A.
“The sky truly is the limit for Chinese businesses like those that join us here."
China's new consul general in Los Angeles joined Villaraigosa in singing the praises of a growing relationship between his country and the city of Los Angeles.
“The close commercial tie between China and Los Angeles have deeply impressed me,” Qiu Shaofang said.
Already, 40% of Chinese imports arrive through the L.A. customs district. The mayor also noted a recent decision by China Shipping to double the size of its facility at the Port of L.A.
Amid concerns about the U.S.-China trade imbalance, Villaraigosa mentioned Harbor City-based Balqon Corporation's deal to provide electric drive systems to an auto parts manufacturer in China.
Chinese companies may be showing increasing interest in the Southern California region, including in commercial real estate.
In two closely watched deals recently, Chinese real estate giant Shenzhen New World Group bought both the Marriott Hotel in downtown L.A. and the Sheraton Universal at Universal Studios.