Los Angeles County ties with China growing closer, says report

08:25, May 13, 2010      

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Los Angeles County, which has a special relationship with China based on cultural and personal ties, is enjoying a sound growth in trade, investment and business transactions with the biggest developing country, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and the World Trade Center Association Los Angeles-Long Beach released a report "China and Los Angeles County: Growing Together." The findings show many of the close ties that have developed between Los Angeles County and China, which has become the Los Angeles Customs District's number one trading partner.

The new study summarizes two lists of companies involved in foreign direct investment activities in Los Angeles County and in China. The first consists of companies headquartered in Los Angeles (Fortune 500 companies, Key Industry Cluster Firms and Others) and having a physical presence -- an office, factory, store, etc. -- in China and companies not headquartered in LA County, but with China operations tied to LA County offices.

It includes 62 companies with summary profiles of each firm's activities in China. The list is surprisingly diverse -- reflecting the wide variety of industry clusters in Los Angeles County. The large and small companies profiled include industries ranging from architecture and engineering to fashion, finance, law, professional services and advanced technology.

The second list includes key Chinese firms with a presence in Los Angeles County. There are 26 companies today, and the numbers are expected to grow in the future. It includes 4 passenger airlines operating between LAX and various cities in China.

This list includes well known names like Bank of China, China Mobile, China Telecom, and COSCO as well as others perhaps not so well known today but eager to participate in the Los Angeles economy.

Los Angeles has become the U.S. leading gateway to China and a leading transit point for manufactured goods coming from China to the rest of the U.S. In addition to the growth in business ties, Los Angeles County has very close personal, cultural and educational ties to that nation, says the report.

As China's economy continues to expand, which will soon become the world's second largest, behind only the U.S., the Los Angeles area is in a unique position to benefit and to participate in this growth, the report says.

The report documents the growing importance of foreign direct investment in this relationship, reviewing both investments made by Los Angeles area business firms in China and Chinese investments in Los Angeles County.

According to the report, Los Angeles County and China has contributed greatly to the economic development of the Los Angeles region.

Trade between the U.S. and China declined during 2009 due to the global recession. Nonetheless, the "numbers" for the Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) were surprisingly large.

China was the LACD's largest trading partner in 2009, with total two-way trade valued at 155.3 billion dollars. Total Chinese imports unloaded in the LACD were 132.4 billion dollars, and total U.S. exports to China through the LACD came to 22.9 billion dollars. This gave the LACD a trade deficit with China of 109.5 billion dollars. China's import-to-export ratio of 5.8 was by far the highest among the LACD's top trading partners.

(Mainland) China and Hong Kong combined ranked as the ninth largest source of foreign-owned and -affiliated companies in Los Angeles County, according to the report.

The County of Los Angeles is aggressively pursuing foreign investment from China and has a very strong interest in attracting green and clean technology.

Source: Xinhua


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