Article Launched: 05/30/2008
City of Fremont is hoping it will be able to send trade delegations to the Shanghai area of China every other year, now that its latest trip was deemed successful by those involved.
Angela Tsui, the city's economic development coordinator, presented to Fremont City Council Tuesday evening 11 suggestions for maintaining a relationship with China, created by the delegation team that traveled to Shanghai on April 25.
The delegation included Councilman Bob Wieckowski, Deputy City Manager Melissa Stevenson Dile, and Tsui, along with Economic Development Advisory Commission members Theresa Cox, Sheena Chang and Nancy Lee, planning commissioner Sue Chan and Ohlone Board of Trustees President Garrett Yee.
Wieckowski, Stevenson Dile and Tsui traveled at the city's expense, for less than $15,000.
The delegation's mission, Tsui said, was to promote Fremont as a strategic Silicon Valley location for business expansion and establish new relationships with Chinese government officials.
Additionally, the delegation was to show support for Ohlone Community College, as it opened its outreach exchange center at the Suzhou College of Science and Industry.
The delegation's suggestions to the city included:
- Contact the individuals the delegation met on the trip and develop a database to build a relationship.
- Develop a database of Fremont companies with operations in China, especially the Shanghai area.
- Continue learning about Fremont's place in the global economy and proactively adapt the city's economic development strategy to the current world economy.
- Consider a trade mission to China every other year for business retention and continue making new contacts with Chinese businesses to expand into the United States.
- Continue receiving delegations from foreign countries.
- Consider participating in regional efforts of other organizations such as the Bay Area World Trade Center, East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Bay Area Council Economic Institute and the U.S. Export Assistance Center of Silicon Valley.
- Explore opportunities to partner with educational institutions like Ohlone as they develop international exchange programs with Chinese universities.
- Develop marketing materials focused on international attraction and investment.
- Explore hosting international business forums and invite executives from Fremont companies to speak about their experiences expanding locally and overseas.
- Serve as a point of contact for international businesses looking to find land and other available properties.
- Include more companies with ties to China as part of the existing corporate site visit program managed by the Office of Economic Development.
Cox, chair of the Economic Development Advisory Commission, said it was crucial for the city to maintain a relationship with Chinese delegates in order to become a stronger economic partner.
"This is growth and development of our future for the economic area," she said. "We need to maintain contacts because to be successful, we need to remain together.
Of the 11 suggestions made by the delegation, council members all agreed they wanted to focus strongly on a trip every other year.
"I believe we should focus on No. 4 (the number it was given by the delegation), because a lot of things could spring from that after we make our next trip," Wieckowski said.
Mayor Bob Wasserman said the city should word its option to take a trip to China differently.
"I don't believe it's wise to lock in to saying we'll go anywhere every two years," he said. "I think it's much wiser to say we're committed to making new relationships or expanding our existing ones."