The City of San Francisco signed a document on Tuesday that encourages more trade collaboration with China. This agreement is in light of the document that was signed last month between the city and China that established a bi-lateral trade agreement to encourage greater collaboration on sustainability issues.
“The idea behind it was basically leverage this long-standing history that San Francisco has with China,” ChinaSF Founder Ginny Fang explained to Biz Tech Day, noting that when San Francisco became Shanghai’s sister city over three decades ago, it was the first American city to forge such a relationship with a Chinese counterpart. “The goal is really to bring Chinese investment and Chinese businesses to grow and expand in San Francisco to bring jobs into our region and also help San Francisco-based businesses grow into the China market.”
This facilitation has some people a little weary. The agreement will encourage foreign investment and make it easier for Chinese businesses to operate in San Francisco. What will happen when Chinese investment banks come to San Francisco and start to compete with local investment banks? It is uncertain if this will help local San Francisco communities long term. In the short term, if this agreement encourages businesses to set up shop in San Francisco and more jobs are created, then this is a good thing. However if those businesses also bring in more Chinese immigrants who get hired for those new jobs, there could be a backlash. The same goes for US businesses that are trying to enter the Chinese market.
It is too soon to say how the San Francisco China relationship will shape the future of the Bay Area, however the fact that they are encouraging renewable energy and sustainability is a plus. Chinese solar firm SunTech has opened offices here and is helping to push the renewable energy market forward.
In the very least, we are creating positive relationships with our global neighbors across the ocean. Hopefully we can help create a model for other cities to work with and benefit from bilateral trade agreements with China.
Thank you to sfexaminer.com for the photos.