Mayor Garcetti Asia Trip Update

GUANGZHOU, CHINA -- Mayor Eric Garcetti has completed two days in Guangzhou, China, the first stop on his Asia trade mission. In Guangzhou, he worked to increase trade, tourism and investment, with a particular emphasis on boosting L.A.’s healthcare sector, which is a key driver of our local economy.

Mayor Garcetti signed a Memorandum of Understanding among the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, Cedar Sinai Medical Center, City of Hope Hospital, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, and China Southern Airlines with the goal of promoting medical travel for Chinese patients in need of medical care and surgical procedures to Los Angeles. The partners will work jointly to facilitate the identification, evaluation, diagnosis, transfer, operation, and recovery of these patients. Chinese patients may visit the following website: http://www.hellola.cn/medicalcare/.

“In our global economy, international trade cannot be left solely to national governments. Global cities like Los Angeles must engage with other major cities to attract investment and create jobs,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our strategy to attract foreign patients stems from the fact that L.A. is home to some of the world’s greatest healthcare providers, and the healthcare sector is one of our leading employers.”

Mayor Garcetti also met with Guangzhou Mayor Jianhua Chen and Auckland Mayor Len Brown. The three mayors signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create an alliance to promote the trade of goods, services, and investment and to foster economic development, innovation, and collaboration in four key industries: trade, entertainment, tourism, and innovation. The three cities will work to develop future trade missions and other programs to expand the business opportunities in each of the cities, and each city will host a Tripartite Economic Summit over the 3-year term of the agreement.

Mayor Garcetti also hosted an event to promote L.A. as a tourist destination to Chinese tourism leaders and met with Zhang Li, Co-Founder & Chair of R&F Properties. 570,000 Chinese tourists visited Los Angeles last year, more than any other overseas market, spending $655 million while here.

Mayor Garcetti is in Asia leading a delegation of business leaders to increase tourism and encourage companies to locate and invest in Los Angeles. He will visit China, South Korea and Japan -- L.A.’s number one, two, and three trading partners respectively. The trade mission began on Nov. 15 and will last until the 26th. Mayor Garcetti’s delegation includes members of his staff and representatives of the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports and the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board. In addition, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles Business Council, and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce have convened members of L.A.’s business community to participate in the mission. The delegation members include companies in the entertainment, finance, professional services, medical, real estate, engineering/design, education, shipping, cleantech, and environmental sustainability sectors. Together, they demonstrate the strength and diversity of the Los Angeles economy and why Los Angeles is a global leader in innovation, creativity, and a major hub for international trade.

"Los Angeles is a global city and is our nation’s gateway to the Pacific Rim through LAX and the nation’s number one port," said Mayor Garcetti. "Now, as we emerge from the recession, it’s more important than ever that we aggressively promote international trade and tourism. We must leverage our assets in the global marketplace to create jobs here in Los Angeles. We have developed strong economic ties with Asia, and we must continue to build on them to increase investment, trade, and tourism in our city."

Trade last year between Los Angeles and China was valued at $164.38 billion; with Japan at $43.5 billion; and South Korea at $23.5 billion. Japan is the number one source of foreign direct investment into Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles also shares strong cultural ties with the Pacific Rim. L.A. County has the largest Asian American population of any county in the United States, numbering 1.5 million and making up 15% of the county’s total population. L.A. universities attract more students from China, South Korea, and Japan than any others.