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Californian companies enthusiastic about cooperation with China
By:Zheng Qian  |  From:english.eastday.com  |  2020-11-12 10:30

It is the third time that the Bay Area Council, a non-profit business association in San Francisco, has participated in the China International Import Expo (CIIE). Although the California delegation, led by the council as before, did not come to China in person due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, their enthusiasm for cooperation is increasingly higher.

In the smart equipment exhibition area of the CIIE, many Californian companies and industry associations promoted products and services in the California Pavilion. Some companies like the MEBO Group have participated in the expo for three years but some were there for the first time, such as the Sacramento Minority Business Development Agency Export Center, Fresno County and the Port of Oakland Authority.

Jennifer Zou, the council’s vice president of Global Initiatives & head of Operations in China, said that the council aims for the economic development of the Bay Area. In 2010, the council established a China office to focus on promoting the cooperation between California and China. In the past few years, it has organized many mutual visits between the California government and corporate delegations and Chinese provinces’ delegations.

The China Office began to organize a delegation of California companies to participate in the CIIE since 2018. In March of this year, it promoted the CIIE to California companies who were all hoping for a relaxation of border controls so they could attend this year's CIIE. The second wave of the outbreak in the fall eventually disrupted their plans to come in person.

Nonetheless, officials from the California state government and various cities and counties, locked down at home, including Max Oltersdorg, deputy director of International Affairs and Trade of the California Office of Business and Economic Development, and Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, participated in the opening ceremony of the California Pavilion on November 6 through Zoom, thus showing their support of the CIIE.

From November 5 to 10, every day in the morning, staff members from the Export Center of the Sacramento Minority Business Development Agency waited in front of their computers to interact online with the consultants at the CIIE site.

“It's an incredible privilege to see all of you here from California through my computer screen and to be a part of what's happening over there in Shanghai. Thank you for the chance to be a part of this opportunity to show all the different businesses and products and services from California. It's really exciting to see interest, at least in what California has to offer and in our particular organization as well. We plan on being there in person next year, hoping no other pandemic comes along and are looking forward to building relationships and even friendships,” they said excitedly in an interview with Eastday.

In Jennifer Zou's view, this CIIE has undoubtedly further deepened California enterprises' knowledge of China. Although the US federal government did not participate in it, the state and local governments in the US are still actively cooperating with China. American companies can be seen everywhere at the CIIE. This time, the council signed a memorandum of understanding with MEBO Group to jointly build a world service trade platform, which will help more Californian companies export to China.