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Our companies would like to continue partnership in China: Bay Area Council Director

Gavin Newsom, Governor of the U.S. state of California, visited China from October 23 to 29, during which he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and visited Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the three major cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong Macao Greater Bay Area.

Sean Randolph, Senior Director of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, told GDToday the top of Governor Newsom's agenda was climate change. He also believes China and the US should not limit themselves to climate change but jointly address topics such as investment and trade, technologies and tourism.

Founded in 1945, the Bay Area Council is a business association in San Francisco and dedicated to economic development in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its members include leading tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla.

Bilateral cooperation in different aspects expected to address climate change

Randolph highlighted that climate change is a very high priority topic for Newsom and the state of California as the state leads the US in the aggressiveness of its policies around climate change. Moreover, the Californians also pay great attention to the topic as about eight in ten adults and likely voters say climate change is a top concern or one of several important concerns for them personally, according to a survey of the Public Policy Institute of California in July 2023.

During his trip to Guangdong, Newsom visited Shenzhen which has the world's first zero-emission municipal bus fleet and test-drove new SUV model of BYD, the leading electrical vehicle brand. He then met with Guangdong Governor Wang Weizhong and witnessed a new MOU signed between Guangdong and California on carbon markets, industrial and power sector decarbonization, and climate adaptation. 

Randolph considered the cooperation between China and the US has high potential, especially in the field of electrical vehicle. California is set to phase out the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035 with the number of its Zero Emission Vehicles taking up about 40 percent of the national total while China has its rapidly developed EV industry which has the world's largest production and sales volume for 8 years in a row.

Apart from EVs, Randolph furthered there are many different ways to address climate change, which again means a lot of opportunities to be developed. "Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has a long history in China working on climate change and energy. We're seeing investment in California by Chinese companies in the solar field. Whether it's the research side or the market development through investment in both directions, climate change is a promising area," he said.

Bay Area Council helps companies connect with Chinese market through CIIE

Randolph believes having Governor Newsom visit Chinese cities and have high-level meetings is important to stabilize and move the conversation with China. He hopes Newsom's visit could lay the groundwork for more exchanges of other officials in California with their counterparts in China.

"Companies here in our Bay Area are very deeply invested in China. It's generally their point of view that whatever other issues are happening at the national level between China and the US, and hopefully they get resolve in a good way over time, that our companies would like to continue to develop their partnerships in China and they're looking for those opportunities," said Randolph.

Amid the US companies' concerns on the economic growth and national policies in China, Randolph stressed that the both sides should be careful about the term of decoupling or de-risking as it might make China not as open and deeply connected to the rest of the world. "We will suffer as well because we in China have benefited from the interaction, benefited from the joint research, the technology development and market growth," he said.

According to Randolph, the Bay Area Council will lead a group to China in November and attend the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. "It's really important for the companies to know about the opportunities and be a part of it. We're trying to help them get connected into the China market through the CIIE," he added.

As for the GBA, Randolph considered it an interesting opportunity for connecting at the sub-national level because the two regions are natural partners considering the size of their economy and common strengths in areas such as AI and health tech. "There are lots of business flows and high level of interests both in China and the US at a provincial level and city level."

Randolph suggested to explore the cooperative potential between Shenzhen and San Francisco at the entrepreneurial base considering both cities are attractive to entrepreneurs. "We can help those communities grow and connect with each other. It will be of mutual benefit to help Chinese entrepreneurs connect more deeply in the San Francisco Bay Area and help our entrepreneurs connect more deeply in China through the GBA," he said.

Reported by Jasmine

Video by Axin

Graphic designed by Lulu

Edited by Wing, Jerry

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