Bay Area Council Blog: China Archive

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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>>

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Expected To Increase 11 Percent From 2009

Council Doubling Down on Solving Regional Commute Mess

The Bay Area Council just loves a good challenge, and there is perhaps no bigger challenge for the region than bringing some relief to the congested mess that is our transportation system. The Council’s Executive Committee, meeting at member company Facebook in Menlo Park, on Thursday endorsed a 2017 policy platform that will direct significantly more time, energy and resources to finding and implementing both short-term and longer-term solutions to the region’s grinding traffic and overwhelmed mass transit systems. The Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners also renewed the Council’s priority policy areas from 2016 that include expanding housing, closing the workforce skills gap and securing the region’s long-term water supply in the face of continuing drought and increased competition among urban, environmental and agricultural interests.

The message was clear, however, that the highest priority must be on fixing the region’s dysfunctional commute, which ranks among the worst in the country and threatens to undermine the Bay Area’s economic success. Michael Matthews, Director of California Public Policy for Facebook, emphasized the importance of commute improvement in his remarks welcoming the Council to the social media giant’s campus, saying it is a key issue for the company along with housing (just today, Facebook announced a $20 million commitment to help local nonprofit housing and rental assistance programs).

Longer commutes, slower traffic and congested mass transit are choking the region’s economic productivity and putting us at growing competitive disadvantage with other states and regions. The Council has already begun laying the groundwork for a bold and aggressive regional transportation improvement vision that will be unveiled in the coming months. In addition, the Council will be exploring new technologies that can help manage the demand side of the transportation equation, promoting the development of autonomous vehicles and continuing our work to increase the use of private commuter shuttles. Expanding public and private water transportation services will figure prominently, and builds on great progress the Council has already made to increase public ferry service around the entire bay and promote fast-emerging private water taxi services.

Housing, of course, is another area on which the Council will continue to put heavy focus. Our leadership and advocacy this year helped win passage of the only significant housing bill in Sacramento – SB 1069 to expand accessory dwelling units (also known as in-law units) — and elevate the housing issue among elected leaders who as a result are now pointing to 2017 as the year of housing. The Council also backed affordable housing measures in Santa Clara and Alameda counties that both passed last month.  Stay tuned for further details on planning for our work on housing, transportation, workforce and water policy. 2017 is going to be a big year.

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Big Election Wins for Bay Area, Council on Housing, Transportation

Millions of Bay Area commuters could breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday when 70 percent of voters passed Measure RR to fix and upgrade BART, the region’s aging and overcrowded mass transit backbone. The Bay Area Council was a leading advocate for Measure RR, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the campaign and countering vocal, but misguided opposition led by state Sen. Steve Glazer that would have been content to see the measure fail and watch BART descend into chaos. The $3.5 billion Measure RR raises will help keep the system running, increase ridership capacity, keep cars off congested roads and highways and keep the region moving.

It was one of several successful measures across the region that the Council was backing to invest in affordable housing and transportation. Measure B in Santa Clara County also reached the 70 percent threshold and will generate $6.5 billion to extend BART to Silicon Valley, expand Caltrain and fix local roads. That campaign was led by Silicon Valley Leadership Group CEO Carl Guardino. Also in Santa Clara County, Measure A passed with flying colors and will provide $950 billion for a variety of affordable housing programs. In Alameda County, Measure A1 will provide $580 billion for affordable housing. The Council also endorsed Measure KK in Oakland to invest $600 million in affordable housing, transportation and other vital city services.

On the Presidential front the nonpartisan Council didn’t take sides, but is now working to see where we may have agreement with President-elect Donald Trump and where we may need to advocate on issues important to ensuring the Bay Area economy remains strong. Trump signaled during the campaign his support for massive infrastructure investment, including for transportation, water and energy. He also identified early education as an area he supports. On trade, the President-elect has voiced strong concerns about free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership which the Council supports. A report the Bay Area Council Economic Institute is preparing to release next week examines the huge benefits of foreign trade to local, state and national economies. Trump’s position on climate change may also put him at odds with California’s global leadership on clean energy technology, a growing area of the state’s economy that the Council has long embraced. Immigration may be another area where the Council calls for moderation on policies that could hurt the ability of employers to attract needed talent.

Statewide, the Council nearly ran the table in its endorsements. Of the eight propositions for which the Council took a position, all but one went the right way.

See a full results roundup of the Council’s ballot positions>>

 

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Council Leads Tech Delegation to China

A high-level delegation of Bay Area entrepreneurs, business leaders, investors and scientists led by Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman this week (Oct. 19) completed a successful one-week visit to China to attract new technology investment to the Bay Area. The group included Joint Bioenergy Institute CEO Dr. Jay Keasling, a pioneer in synthetic biology and associate director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Delegates participated in investment matchmaking events in the Yangpu District of Shanghai, the Yuhang (Future Tech City) in Hangzhou and the Gulou District in Nanjing—the Council maintains offices in all three districts. The delegation also visited Tsinghua University and Zhongguancun Technology Park in Beijing.

Other highlights of the trip included a private dinner hosted by the Bank of China at their Shanghai Headquarters Penthouse; UC Berkeley alumni events in Shanghai and Beijing; a private meeting in the Zhejiang Provincial Party Headquarters; a meeting with IBM China Chief Technology Officer Xiaowei Shen; and dinner at the home of Hanhai Investment Group Chairman Wang. The Council also met with numerous top-level Chinese government officials, including Liu Linlin, Director of American & Oceanian Affairs in the Ministry of Commerce; Guo Hong, Director General of Zhongguancun Tech Park; Li Yueqi, Party Secretary of Yangpu District; Xie Jiangang, Mayor of Yangpu District; Yao Zhiwen, Director General of Organization Department of Zhejiang Province; Xie Zhicheng, Vice Mayor of Nanjing City; and, Ai Xuefeng, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen.

The Council will continue to serve as the investor relations team for these companies as they attract important technology investments into the Bay Area from China. The Council’s business development platform in China is available to help all Bay Area companies and organizations to access the growing markets of China and attract investment at home. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.

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Council Builds Stronger Economic, Trade & Investment Connections with Nanjing

The Bay Area Council, in collaboration with the Gulou District of Nanjing, recently completed a trade show promoting Bay Area businesses and Council members in the economically important Yangtze Delta region. The event was led by Deputy Mayor Tong and attended by over 400 representatives from the Nanjing business community along with Council members Woods Bagot, HSBC, Dolby, PwC, Suning, Finnegan and Mitsubishi. In remarks during the event, Council Senior Vice President Bing Wei and Woods Bagot Vice President Peal Huang drew awareness to investment opportunities in the Bay Area.

The event doubled as a celebration of the establishment of the Nanjing-Bay Area Innovation Center; a startup co-working space sponsored by the municipal government with consulting support from the Bay Area Council. The project provides a facility for startup companies from the Bay Area to accelerate their business in China and a venue for venture capital firms to track the progress of the innovation economy in the Nanjing. Oakland-based startup Labor-Link was the first to register after the formal opening and will receive support from the municipal government in growing their client base amongst the cities many electronics manufacturers. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Global Business Development Chief Del Christensen.