Bay Area Council Blog: China Archive

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Council Works to Bring Chinese Clean Energy Investment to CA

Fresh from our successful trip with Governor Jerry Brown to China to promote climate change partnership, the Bay Area Council this week joined a first-ever summit to bring billions of dollars in Chinese clean energy investments to California. Organized by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development in partnership with the California-China Trade Network, the Select California Investment Summit in Sacramento included 22 Chinese investors seeking opportunities in clean tech, water innovation, sustainable development, zero emission vehicles, and more. Attracting foreign direct investment from China and elsewhere is a primary focus for the Council, which provides a range of services to guide Chinese and other investors as they look to enter or expand in the Bay Area and California marketplaces. Chinese investment represents a huge opportunity for California, which from 2000-2016 secured 415 investment deals valued at $25.5 billion from mainland China investors. Statewide, global investment in California employs 631,500 workers. To learn how the Council can help foreign investors find opportunities in California, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.

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Council Agenda Gets Receptive Ear in D.C.

Transportation, housing, trade and healthcare were among the issues a Bay Area Council-led business delegation discussed this week in Washington, D.C., with top Congressional and White House leaders. Led by Council Chair Michael Covarrubias (Chairman and CEO, TMG Partners) and Council CEO Jim Wunderman, the delegation met with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Central Valley Rep. Jeff Denham, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, among many other legislators, cabinet and administration officials.

Delegates highlighted the importance of investment in transportation, particularly as it relates to future Northern California megaregion planning. As a growing economy blurs historic Bay Area, Sacramento and San Joaquin regional boundaries, the Bay Area Council is taking action now to address the future transportation, housing and workforce needs of the emerging megaregion. Much of the immediate focus and a major topic in meetings this week was investing to expand megaregion rail capacity, including securing federal transportation dollars for the Amtrak Capitol Corridor service and the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE Train).

The Council shared a sneak peek at new research by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute that shows the strong and growing connections between Silicon Valley and other parts of the country and how those connections can be leveraged to expand knowledge-based economic opportunities and grow jobs nationwide. The Council also advocated for free and open global trade and immigration policies. Special thanks to our sponsors Microsoft, Oracle, and Alaska Airlines. To learn more about the Council’s federal policy agenda, please contact Senior Advisor George Broder.

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COUNCIL CHINA CLEAN ENERGY DELEGATION WITNESS TO HISTORY

The Bay Area Council’s delegation of business leaders accompanying Gov. Jerry Brown this week to Beijing, China, for a global conference on climate change were witness to history as the Governor enjoyed a rare meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and signed several key agreements on clean energy and climate change cooperation. The trip, which was led by Council CEO Jim Wunderman, took on added significance with President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate change accord, a move which elevated California’s global leadership on clean energy and efforts to address climate change. Council delegates enjoyed dinner with Gov. Brown following his meeting with President Xi.

Also during the trip, the Council delegation met with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to discuss the important role of California’s national research labs, including Berkeley National Lab and Lawrence Livermore Lab, in advancing clean energy technology. Perry called California’s labs “crown jewels.”

The Council joined Gov. Brown as he signed an agreement establishing a new California-Beijing Clean Technology and Innovation Partnership and launching a new fund to support it. And later, our delegates attended a forum at renowned Tsinghua University with Gov. Brown and participated in a discussion with China’s lead negotiator on climate change issues. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.

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BAY AREA COUNCIL LEADS DELEGATION ACCOMPANYING GOV. JERRY BROWN TO CHINA FOR GLOBAL CLEAN ENERGY SUMMIT

On Monday, June 5, the Bay Area Council will lead a high-level business delegation to Beijing, China, to accompany Gov. Jerry Brown for an annual meeting of the world’s top energy ministers and to strengthen ties between China, California and the Bay Area on clean energy and other economic opportunities. The trip takes on added significance coming on the heels of President Donald Trump’s decision on Thursday (June 1) to withdraw the U.S. from a major international climate change accord around which the China meetings are centered.

“The Bay Area and California are charging ahead to strengthen our growing partnership with China on expanding the use of clean energy and developing exciting new clean energy technologies,” said Jim Wunderman, Bay Area Council President and CEO. “Under Gov. Brown’s bold leadership, California has become a global beacon for addressing climate change and leveraging the power of economic innovation to develop the clean energy technologies that are critical to reducing carbon emissions. California and China have much to share and much to gain from working together to advance our clean energy and clean technology objectives. This trip will be significant in highlighting the importance of cooperation and partnership among regions, states and nations in addressing the threats of climate change.”

The Clean Energy Ministerial 8 (CEM8) gathering from June 6-8 brings together energy ministers from the world’s top 23 economies and the European Union to discuss implementing the historic 2015 U.N. Convention of Parties climate change agreement (COP21) from which President Trump decided to withdraw U.S. participation. The Bay Area Council played a leading role last year in organizing and hosting CEM7 in San Francisco.

Detailed agenda and delegate information on the Bay Area Council CEM8 trip>>

As part of CEM8, the Bay Area Council delegation will join Gov. Brown and other state leaders for a forum on June 7 of the Under 2 Coalition, which represents 170 cities, states and countries from six continents that have signed on to the Under 2 MOU committing to actions that will limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. California and Gov. Brown have been instrumental in the creation and expansion of the Under 2 Coalition. And the June 7 “Under2 Clean Energy Forum” expands on the event Governor Brown launched last year in San Francisco to highlight regional clean energy and climate action and collaboration, in conjunction with CEM7.

Through its three offices in China, the Council for more than 10 years has served an important role in facilitating California’s growing relationship with China on clean energy, including helping organize Gov. Brown’s 2013 trade and investment mission when he signed another landmark climate change agreement with that country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission.

Read the Council’s statement on President Trump’s Paris accord decision>>

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Statement on President Trump’s Decision to Withdraw U.S. from Paris Climate Accord

The Bay Area Council today (June 1) issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawing the United States from the landmark 2015 U.N. Convention of Parties climate change agreement (COP21). The Council has long supported California’s global leadership on clean energy and was the first major business group to endorse the historic California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. In 2016, the Council hosted energy ministers from the world’s largest 23 economies and the European Union for the Clean Energy Ministerial 7 (CEM7) in San Francisco—a follow-up to the COP21 talks—and next week is leading a delegation to Beijing for CEM8 along with Governor Jerry Brown.

“California and the Bay Area remain on an irreversible course forward to lead the world into a sustainable clean energy future,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Addressing climate change is not just an environmental or moral imperative, it is an economic imperative and an economic opportunity. California’s ambitious assault on climate change has spawned a vibrant and fast-growing clean technology industry that is creating new jobs, attracting investment and new businesses and producing innovative new products. It has also given us a strong competitive advantage in a sector we believe will continue to grow and thrive as more and more companies embrace a clean energy future.”

The Bay Area Council is working on a variety of initiatives focused on addressing the climate change challenge, including:

  • Promoting urban infill and transit-oriented housing development that reduces long, polluting commutes
  • Building stronger connections with China and other countries to expand the development and use of clean energy technologies
  • Championing investment in the expansion and modernization of mass transit systems, including BART, ferries and Caltrain
  • Leading an innovative regional effort to restore wetlands and build infrastructure to protect against the threat of rising seas and extreme storms
  • Advocating for investment and policies that support the creation of a new, modern energy grid to better integrate and manage growing renewable energy sources
  • Modernizing and expanding our water storage and delivery system to prepare for future droughts
  • Supporting business in adopting corporate renewable energy goals and strategies
  • Advancing the deployment and adoption of electric and other zero emission vehicles
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COLIN POWELL, FAREED ZAKARIA, ERIC GARCETTI HEADLINE OUTLOOK CONFERENCE

Time is running out to secure your seat at the Bay Area Council’s 2017 Outlook Conference: The Pacific Summit presented by Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday, May 23. We have assembled an incredible dais of leaders who will provide invaluable insights on the dramatic political and economic changes that are dominating the regional, state and national landscapes. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and CNN host and global thinker Dr. Fareed Zakaria will talk about the populist forces that propelled Donald Trump into the White House and what it means for the Bay Area and California. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will share his thoughts on how large metropolitan regions can address the massive challenges of housing and transportation. And San Francisco Chronicle Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper will lead a fascinating discussion on the great flight of millennials from our region and the trouble it bodes for our economy. In addition to hearing from these leaders, attendees will also have an opportunity to talk directly with them in small group discussions that are new to the conference this year. The conference will be held at The Presidio, affording attendees a beautiful, retreat-like setting to hear top thinking and interact with a high-level audience.

Learn about sponsorship opportunities and register today at www.bayareacouncil.org/outlook.

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COUNCIL OFFERS INSIGHTS ON US-CHINA AGTECH GROWTH

Bay Area Council Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen on Thursday (April 6) led a panel at the Silicon Valley Forum’s “AgTech and the Connected World” Conference on the evolution of American and Chinese agriculture technology sectors. Panelists KY Cheng of East West Bank and Simon Shao Green Pasture International Inc. explained the challenges that China faces in modernizing its agriculture industry – with an small average farm size of 1.5 acres and an aging rural demographic, the world’s second largest economy has been searching for ways to increase its agricultural productivity. This creates a big opportunity for Californian companies and funds looking to do business in China. While global venture capital investments decreased in 2016, the central government invested $450 billion to redesign its agriculture capabilities. For these reasons, the Council has focused on assisting agtech companies’ access to Chinese markets for the past three years and is leading a delegation in agtech and clean energy this coming June. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen at dchristensen@bayareacouncil.org.

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Council Helps Forge New UCBerkeley-China R&D Partnership

The Bay Area Council today (March 27) applauded the announcement of a new partnership between the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute at UC Berkeley and Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China, that marks the first step in an exciting new research and development collaboration focused on cutting-edge technology innovations.

An agreement signed by CITRIS and ZJU was made possible with a $1.2 million gift from an alumnus of UC Berkeley, who is the Director of Zhejiang Zerong Network Technology Co. Ltd. This first phase of funding will be used to generate a vision and plan for the new ZJU-CITRIS Research Innovation Center in Hangzhou and attract support for a collaboration of much larger scale and impact on both regions. This global innovation and incubation hub will support the development of technology solutions in the areas of health; sustainable infrastructures; people and robots; and connected communities.

The Council, through its China Global Initiative, was proud to work with the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office of Government and Community Relations and under the leadership of CITRIS Director Costas Spanos in developing the partnership by leveraging our strong relationships in China.

“This new partnership has the potential be a game-changer in fostering cooperation on research and development that can benefit both the Bay Area and China,” said Del Christensen, Chief of the Council’s China Global Initiative. “When the Council entered China 10 years ago, it was specifically with the purpose of helping create opportunities like this. It’s gratifying to see this new collaboration between our region and one of China’s fastest-growing and most innovative capital cities begin to take shape.”

The Council operates offices in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing China, to support business access and cooperation between California and China. To learn about the Council’s China Global Initiative, please contact Del Christensen.

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Restricting Immigration Hurts the Bay Area, Council Members Say

Recent actions and statements by President Trump and his administration on immigration, including an executive order ostensibly banning citizens and others from certain predominately Muslim countries from entering the U.S., have sparked strong reaction and debate nationwide and here in the Bay Area. The Bay Area Council joins with many others that are expressing serious policy concerns about the ban and its impacts – social, human and economic.

A survey this week (Feb. 1) of our members – while not unanimous – highlighted the depth of those concerns, with 79 percent saying that the immigration ban will have a negative impact on the Bay Area and 13 percent saying the impact will be positive. A larger 88 percent of the 183 companies that responded said draft proposals to limit or do away with H1-B visas, which allow U.S. employers and others to temporarily employ workers in specialty occupations, would negatively impact our region as we compete for talent in a global economy, while 9 percent said the Bay Area would benefit from restrictions.

As a member-driven, nonpartisan organization that has focused for more than 70 years on making the Bay Area the most innovative, globally competitive, and sustainable region in the world, the Bay Area Council knows well the incredible value and importance of both home-grown and immigrant talent to our region, and nation.

The Bay Area is the thriving, diverse and economically productive region it is today because of the immense contributions that immigrants have made over many, many generations. Our many strong connections with the global community interweave natives and immigrants into the business, social and cultural fabric and history of the Bay Area, a region that firmly embraces the values of inclusion, diversity and freedom.

Many of our greatest companies have been founded by former immigrants – and the children and grandchildren of immigrants — who came here seeking opportunity and the freedom to realize their dreams. Some are here temporarily. Most become regular American citizens. They have been responsible for some of our greatest discoveries—discoveries that have made the United States and the world a better place for millions of people. They have been a tremendous source of ideas, innovation, investment and leadership. And, immigrants have been a great source of talent for our many employers.

Protecting our national interests and the safety of our citizens is extremely important, but we must be equally careful not to infringe on the civil and human rights for which we stand. The Bay Area Council has long advocated for federal action on immigration reform, and we continue to believe that such reform should be developed comprehensively and thoughtfully.

 

Sample of anonymous pro and con comments from the survey

“California is the manifestation of immigrant ingenuity and investment. This state is held as an example across the world of what an economy looks like when we unleash boundless opportunity. These [Executive Orders] will damage the talent pool, thereby limiting the source of new ideas and energy. Growth always suffers when we shut the door on immigrants.”

“I believe we needed to do something. We will adjust and adapt as we always have. Citizens first. Immigrants 2nd, so long as they follow the proper rules to become citizens.”

“These executive orders are extremely damaging, in terms of inhumane treatment of people, violation of civil liberties, economic health of the region, state and nation, and national security.”

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What the President-Elect Should Know about Trade, Manufacturing & Jobs

A wave of working-class anger and discontent over lost manufacturing jobs is credited by many with helping Donald Trump win the White House, but a Bay Area Council Economic Institute analysis released this week (Dec. 14) suggests that a protectionist response on foreign trade and pulling back from free trade agreements, in particular, could have serious economic downsides for the U.S. and California. The analysis argues instead for boosting domestic competitiveness through aggressive worker retraining to adapt to an increasingly knowledge-based economy, reforming tax policy to incentivize new business investment and doubling down on free trade expansion. The analysis was released the same day President-elect Trump met with a number of leading tech titans for a conversation that was expected to cover many of the same issues. The Economic Institute is sharing the analysis with the Trump transition team.

Read the full report>>