Nine years after California disbanded its foreign trade offices amid controversy, Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that the state will open two offices in China.
California shut down 12 taxpayer-funded trade offices in 2003, after the Legislative Analyst's Office, among other observers, questioned their effectiveness and cost. Brown's office said in a statement that new trade offices in Shanghai and Beijing will be financed by "partners in the private sector."
"The Pacific Rim has become the center of the world economy, presenting California with countless opportunities to grow alongside our neighbors across the ocean," Brown said in a prepared statement. "The office will encourage direct investment and further strengthen the existing ties between the world's second- and ninth-largest economies."
The announcement coincides with a visit to Los Angeles by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. The Democratic governor is in Los Angeles today hosting him.
The idea of reestablishing a presence in China came up last year, when Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would seek to reopen California's foreign trade offices, first in China.