Shanghai, San Francisco boost bilateral investment

Updated: 2015-05-06 09:23

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Shanghai, San Francisco boost bilateral investment

Liu Hong (second from left), general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone United Development Co, signs a Memorandum of Understanding with James Fang, chairman of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister Committee, on Tuesday in San Francisco to promote bilateral investment between the two cities. Provided to China Daily.

The sister cities of Shanghai and San Francisco are teaming up to boost business with each other.

An investment conference was held on Tuesday in San Francisco between China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone (SHFTZ), the first pilot free trade zone of China, and the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee, at which the two cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

"This is a critically important step in the expansion of California's relationship with China and Shanghai," said California Lt Governor Gavin Newsom, who also attended the conference's opening ceremony.

"Not only will California businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of the Free Trade Zone, China will now have a formalized process of providing Chinese investors the opportunities to invest and work with business here in our state," he said.

Established in 2013, the SHFTZ has attracted numerous businesses from both home and abroad with its open investment management, trading services and regulatory environment, said Liu Hong, general manager of Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone United Development Co, which manages the SHFTZ.

By mid-April this year, 17,373 enterprises have been established in the FTZ, and 3,114 of them are foreign investment companies. As for overseas investment, the free trade zone has facilitated more than 280 projects with a total investment of $9 billion, according to Liu.

"We not only welcome overseas merchants to invest in China but also are willing to facilitate Chinese capital for overseas businesses," Liu said.

During a follow-on session on Tuesday afternoon, 10 businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area were expected to present their projects to around eight Chinese investors who are visiting with the SHFTZ delegation.

"The projects include real estate, high tech, healthcare and innovative products such as an environmentally friendly diapers and a gadget for controlling blood pressure," said James Fang, chairman of the San Francisco–Shanghai Sister Committee.

"The Chinese investors are interested in the innovative technologies here, which are good and cost-effective as well," he said.

Fang said that enhancing bilateral investment would improve the two countries' relationship. "More investment into the US means more job opportunities," he said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee agreed.

"San Francisco as the Gateway to the Pacific and through its many US-Sino organizations, including the San Francisco Shanghai Sister City Committee, which has expanded our 35 years of friendship with Shanghai, welcomes this overseas investment that will add another level of cooperation, create good-paying jobs, keeps jobs locally and strengthens our growing economy," he said in a press release on Monday.