California Lt Governor Gavin Newsom emphasized the important role sub-national regions and private enterprise can play in facilitating dialogue and strengthening wide-ranging cooperation between the US and China.
Speaking at a Chinese Enterprises Association (CEA) new member-welcome mixer on Wednesday, Newsom said, "I value you, I value your work, I value your contribution and I respect the collective roles and responsibilities of your organization and members."
Attending the gathering were about 200 representatives from Chinese companies newly invested in northern California in 2015-16, along with their American counterparts and service providers.
Regions rise together, and the interdependent relationship between China and the US "makes us rise and fall together," said Newsom. "We take seriously our relationship with China, and we don't take it for granted. I want you know that you matter, and we care."
Currently, about 200 Chinese enterprises operate in northern California across a spectrum of fields, including high-tech, biotech, finance, real estate, clean tech and renewable energy, and the momentum of growth remains strong.
As San Francisco's mayor in 2007, Newsom orchestrated the establishment of the city's ChinaSF office in Shanghai, and developed the relationship between Shanghai and San Francisco, what Skip Whitney, executive vice-president of Kidder Mathews, called the "most vibrant relationship between any sister cities anywhere in the world."
By the end of April, China's direct investment to the US had doubled over the same period last year, according to Yang Yihang, business consul at the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, who also addressed the mixer.
"Those active business activities create a win-win situation for both the US and China," Yang said.
Newsom said something big was happening (between the US and China). "And I want to see it happening here in California and I believe it's appropriate," he said. "We are the gateway to Asia, one of the biggest economies in the world, and we have the most diverse culture here."
"We have the longest and oldest established relationship with China, and the ties with China go back generations," said Newsom, adding that California has the first and the largest Chinatown in the United States, and one third of the state population is Asian.
"Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, is the first Chinese-American mayor of a major American city," he said.
Wang Yong, president of CEA, said member enterprises should strive to help build a stronger and healthier US-China relationship and more vigorous bilateral economic exchange.