BEIJING - Gov. Jerry Brown was participating in a luncheon discussion hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing on Wednesday when a businessman asked about the rules and regulations businesses encounter in foreign trade.
"What would you say to those people who say, 'Oh, it's just too difficult, too much red tape, don't understand the foreign culture, you know, protectionist feelings and things like that," Chris Davies, of HSBC bank, asked the Democratic governor.
"Where?" Brown said. "In China or in California?"
The audience laughed.
"We've got more damn laws than you can think of," Brown said, lamenting litigation and other obstacles to business in California.
He said there are "endless ideas" about how to add more rules and regulations but that part of his job is "to find a way to cut through that."
"To the extent you have any red tape, there's no one more anxious to reduce it," Brown said.
At a news conference earlier Wednesday, Brown marveled at the amount of construction China has managed in the past several years.
The governor was asked if that didn't have something to do with China's one-party rule.
"While we don't have one-party rule in California, at least we have a diminished opposition," Brown said of California, where Democrats now hold supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. "And hopefully that will bode well."
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders