Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Mayor Garcetti Asia Trip Update: Seoul

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- Mayor Garcetti has completed two days of meetings and events in Seoul, South Korea, the fifth stop on his Asia trade mission.

Mayor Garcetti met with Seoul Mayor Park Won Soon and spoke at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), where he discussed the importance of economic ties between Korea and Los Angeles.

South Korea is the L.A. region’s #3 trading partner, boasting over $23 billion in trade in 2013. Trade between South Korea and the United States is on the rise -- South Korea is now the U.S.' #5 trading partner and Los Angeles has accounted for more than 20% of all US-Korea trade since 1994 and 2013 was a record year for exports to South Korea.

"Our relationship with South Korea generates billions for our economy and adds so much to our city's cultural and culinary landscape," Mayor Garcetti said. "There is no substitute to doing business face-to-face, and we are looking to grow our trade relationships to new heights."

On Mayor Garcetti's first day in Seoul, he spoke at the opening celebration of a BBCN office, the first in Korea for the L.A.-based bank. BBCN Bank is the largest Korean-American bank in the United States and this year was ranked by Forbes as among the top 30 banks in the nation. Headquartered in L.A. for 28 years, BBCN Bank has been serving L.A.’s Korean community (the largest in the U.S.) in over 50 full-service branches and offices throughout the US.

Mayor Garcetti traveled to Seoul on Sunday from Beijing, China, which was the fourth stop in his Asia trade mission.

In Beijing, he spoke about Los Angeles’ leadership in technology and sustainability at a Clean Technology Forum hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce and the Beijing Chaoyang District Commission of Commerce. Mayor Garcetti also spoke at an event at the Beijing office of Ernst & Young with the Mayors and Vice Mayors of the Chinese cities of Zhuhai, Linyi, Weifang, and Xuzhou – which are home to 33 million people. Those cities expect a huge influx of new residents as rural Chinese move to cities, requiring large investments in water supply, waste treatment, and other public utility infrastructure. In addition, the four cities have identified healthcare, international trade and clean tech as areas of economic opportunity. The event was intended to provide L.A. companies with direct connections to the cities’ leadership to explore business opportunities.

“These cities are facing challenges that L.A. companies have been solving for years. Making the right connections will help their cities grow and will create jobs in our city,” Mayor Garcetti said
Mayor Garcetti also met with China’s Vice minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui (who was previously China’s Ambassador to the U.S.), Beijing Party Secretary Gui Jinlong, and Wanda Dalian Group CEO Wang Jianlin. Wanda Group is a $60 billion conglomate that owns hotels, movie theaters and department stores across China. It bought AMC theaters in 2012, and the company touts itself as the world’s largest cinema operator.
On his first day in Beijing, Mayor Garcetti met with the U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus. He also led a discussion on urbanization and sustainability at Peking University, in partnership with the Stanford Center, C40, and the Municipal Government of Beijing. The purpose of the discussion event was to share L.A.’s experiences with increasing sustainability, exchange thoughts with Beijing experts, and work toward reciprocal business opportunities and solutions. In addition, Mayor Garcetti hosted an event promoting L.A. tourism to Beijing's travel industry. Mayor Garcetti will spend two more days in Beijing.

"China's booming economy is accompanied by enormous environmental challenges that L.A. businesses can help solve," Mayor Garcetti said. "China is already our number-one source of foreign tourists, and there is still huge room for growth."

Mayor Garcetti traveled to Beijing from Shanghai, the third stop on his trade mission.

In Shanghai, he spoke at the grand opening of a clinical laboratory jointly owned by UCLA and the Chinese firm Centre Testing International (CTI). The new lab will support clinical trials and enhance medical care for Chinese patients with cancer and other diseases.

Mayor Garcetti also attended a press conference announcing the grand opening of the Shanghai Tower in 2015. Los Angeles-based Gensler is the lead architect on the design of the tower, which will be the tallest building in China. Rising to 2,073 feet and 121 stories, it will be one of the most advanced sustainable tall buildings in the world. http://du.gensler.com/vol5/shanghai-tower/

Mayor Garcett also met with Zhang Guofa, President of China Shipping, and hosted an event to promote L.A. as a tourist destination to Chinese tourism leaders.

"The Chinese economy is booming, and I want to make sure we put L.A. companies in the best possible position to win business and create jobs back here at home," Mayor Garcetti said.

Previously, Mayor Garcetti was in Shenzen, China, the second stop on his trade mission to China, South Korea and Japan – L.A.’s number one, two and three trading partners respectively. In Shenzen, Mayor Garcetti promoted L.A.’s greentech and financial centers and brought L.A. and Shenzen based businesses together to encourage deals.

“Making it easier for individuals and businesses alike to exchange funds and ideas between China and L.A. will increase our ability to attract foreign investment,” said Mayor Garcetti. “L.A.’s on the cutting edge when it comes to green technology and we’re using this trip to promote this sector and make sure that L.A. is well positioned for the next generation of middle class jobs.”

Mayor Garcetti spoke at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the China headquarters of SaveSorb, a Los Angeles-based greentech company that produces a product that extracts oil from water or land for environmental clean up and wastewater management. The product can be used for oil, fuel, chemical and paint spills in industrial, oil and gas production, transportation and maritime applications. SaveSorb recently won PortTechLA’s Best Business Model at the 2014 PortTech Expo.

Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles co-hosted a CEO Economic Exchange Forum with Shenzhen Mayor XU Qin, the Shenzhen Municipal Economy, Trade, and Information Commission, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, and the Los Angeles Economic Corporation for companies from Los Angeles and Shenzhen to learn about the business and trade opportunities in each other’s cities.

He also spoke at a ribbon cutting ceremony at East West Bank, the first Los Angeles-based bank to open a branch in China. It will provide customers full financial service from both sides of the Pacific through one access point and will help support international business and trade transactions and facilitate investments between Los Angeles and China.

Mayor Eric Garcetti began his trade mission with a two day stop in Guangzhou, China where 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.