The sister-city agreement signed June 16, 2010 between the Latin Business Association, the Southern California Cities of Downey, Bell Gardens and Huntington Park and The People’s Government of Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China represents an historic strategic partnership between the LBA, Southern California and an entire region within a foreign nation.
This historic strategic alliance, consummated at the elegant VIP invitational reception: “LBA Building International Partnerships”, which was held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California, was the culmination of three separate visits to China by a group of enterprising businessmen and civic leaders led by LBA Chairman Ruben Guerra beginning in February 2010.
Declaration by the Latin Business Association and Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China:
The Latin Business Association was established in 1976 as a non-profit organization and is the country’s largest Latino business entity by virtue of total active membership and overall outreach to Latino business owners in the state of California.
For over thirty years, the Latin Business Association celebrates its commitment to business growth, advancement, empowerment and economic development by providing advocacy, education, training and local and international business opportunities to the Latino Business Community and for the small business community at large.
The Latin Business Association delivers innovative programs and services that lead to the success and prosperity of Latino business owners locally, nationally and internationally.
The LBA is taking the lead in building international partnerships and recognizes the City of Suzhou, China as an International Partner. We will both seek to create strategic business alliances between the businesses of Suzhou and California. We will both strive to work together to innovate and create new business opportunities, strengthen communication and support each other in the areas of business development, education and cultural exchange.
We share a mutual commitment to guide and assist businesses to market efficiently at an international level by providing vital information, introducing them to potential customers and providing overall access to new markets by minimizing distance, language and cultural barriers between businesses from the City of Suzhou and the Latin Business Association.
The City of Suzhou, China and the Latin Business Association will seek to create an international business environment that embraces prosperous businesses and creates economic wealth.
I, Ruben Guerra, Chairman of the Latin Business Association, along with the members of the Board of Directors, do hereby gratefully declare this declaration valid upon signing.
Dated the 16th day of June, 2010- Los Angeles, California
Chairman and CEO of the Latin Business Association
Director of the People’s Government of Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China
February 2010: The Common Thread of “Doing Business” Connects Continents with an Exceptional Trip To China
In an effort to boost economy, local mayors join the LBA in an incentive excursion
To help bridge the gap between Latino and Chinese leaders in business, the LBA spearheaded a thought-provoking business trip to China. Those who participated took advantage of the opportunity to meet and greet business leaders in China and better understand the current conditions to improve how business is handled. Mayor of Huntington Park, Mario Gomez; Councilman and former Bell Gardens Mayor Pedro Acutencia; and Councilman and former Downey Mayor Mario Guerra all formed part of a team totalling twenty-eight businessmen led by LBA Chairman Ruben Guerra. Their travels took them to the cities of Xuyi and Suzhou in the Jiangsu province of China to launch international relations and sister-city agreement signings.
Additionally, the agenda included tactics and discussions to explore and secure international market business opportunities for local southern California Latino businesses and cities. Expanding the business borders and reach into China, businesses in both countries alike can learn and take advantage of valuable opportunities otherwise unknown. Conversations and the exchange of thoughts fostered agreements to develop business, education, cultural and economic relations and friendly associations amongst the cities involved and the LBA.
“This was an historic event for the LBA and the three cities, which will create business trade in our communities and much needed jobs”, said Guerra of the LBA. “This was an incredible and gratifying experience. The partnership we have created and the agreement we look forward to signing will connect California cities with Asia, Mexico and Central America and advance the building of business exchange opportunities for our members and the Latino community at large”, added Guerra.
The following distinguished representatives comprised the Delegation of The People’s Government of Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China:
- Suzhou is a city of historical and cultural renown, and a famous tourist designation displaying the magnificent natural beauty of China. Located in the southeastern part of Jiangsu Province, the city is in proximity to Shanghai in the east, bordered on the south by Zhejiang Province, on the brink of Taihu Lake in the west and on the bank of the Yangtze River in the north. For thousands of years, Suzhou has been revered as: “The Land of Fish and Rice”; “The Capital of Silk”; and “The Earthly Paradise”.
- A major tourist city of China, Suzhou boasts a total number of 538 historical and cultural relics protected by the various level governments, 34 which are protected as national monuments by the central government, and 106 by the provincial government. Thus it is designated as a member city of the Federation of World Heritage Cities. The ancient city proper of Suzhou nestles on a parcel of land laced by a water network, “where visitors are fascinated to see dwellers’ houses overlooking and small bridges flying over the water”. The highly-valued classical garden of Suzhou is a good example of the harmonious integration of such architectural elements as rocks and water, flowers and plants, sculpture, calligraphy and painting.
- In the course of reform and expansion, the old Suzhou is transforming into a modern manufacturing base with new and high-tech industry as its mainstay; a technical innovation base with a tight correlation between industry, academics and research; a modern highly-technical agricultural base; a thriving center featuring a diverse mixture of talents; and a splendid holiday resort with myriad cultural attractions and unsurpassed natural beauty, thus making it one of the most economically-dynamic cities in the world.
About Wuzhong District
- The Wuzhong District, located south of the old city proper of Suzhou and on the brink of Taihu Lake, covers a land area of 742 square kilometers and a water area of 1,459 square kilometers, accounting for 3/5ths of the total surface area of Taihu Lake, the third largest freshwater lake in China. The district’s jurisdiction includes the Suzhou Taihu National Tourism Vacation Zone; the National Modern Agriculture Demonstration Zone; the Provincial Economic Development Zone; seven townships and eight sub-districts; and the Qionglong Mountain Scenery Management Zone, with a population of approximately 600,000.
- In recent years, guided by the scientific concept of development, and centering on the brand-name construction of “Scenic Suzhou and Cultural Wuzhong”, the district has implemented four major projects to make the Economic Development Zone more competitive, to make Taihu Lake even more beautiful, to beautify the Wuzhong New City, to construct a new rural area, and it has made an all-out effort to build the district into a high-end industrial zone, best ecological and livable zone, and cultural and tourist zone.
- In 2009, the district realized gross domestic product (GDP) of 51 billion yuan, an increase of 12.2 percent compared with the previous year; total fiscal revenue of 15.25 billion yuan, a growth of 10.8 percent; and general budget revenue of 5 billion yuan, up 11.6 percent. Per capita urban resident disposable income was 28,849 yuan, and that of farmers was 13,047, an increase of 10.5 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively. All these figures exceed the various economic and social indexes as required for the living standards of a fairly comfortable life.
Investment Environment of Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China 2010
Excerpts from Presentation delivered by Yu Xingnan, Director of the People’s Government of Wuzhong District, Suzhou, China at the “LBA Building International Partnerships” Reception in Los Angeles on June 16, 2010:
Dear Guests, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today we feel honored to be here in Los Angeles, a modern international metropolis of prosperity and fashion, to participate in this event to promote international cooperation and investment and to enter into this historic partnership agreement …
In May 2010, Shanghai hosted the 2010 World Expo, the first time a world expo has been hosted in China. Less than 100 kilometers to the west is the City of Suzhou, a 2,500 year old city of ancient civilation popularly known as “A Garden City”, “Venice of the East” and “A Paradise on Earth”. In addition to its long history, Suzhou has come to be ranked first among all prefecture-level cities in China, in terms of total economic volume; the fastest-growing area in its drive toward industrialization, urbanization and modernization; and among the first choices for foreign investment, having been selected by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and other world bodies as: “the World’s Most Dynamic City”, China’s “Gold Medal City for Investment Environment” and “One of the World’s 100 Most-Livable Cities”.
Located in the heartland of the Yangtze River delta, the nation’s most economically-developed area, Wuzhong District is adjacent, in the east, to Shanghai, China’s largest city; it borders Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, to the south; and is within proximity to Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, to the west. A complete transportation network within the district allows access to an expressway in less than 15 minutes, and arrival at any of the aforementioned cities within 100 minutes. The Shanghai-Nanjing Speed Railway, soon to be operational, will slash travel time by two-thirds…
Comprising a major section of Suzhou Central Urban Area, Wuzhong District has been adhering to such developmental concepts as technological innovation, industrial upgrading and sustainable growth… and at the moment, as many as 2,000 foreign-funded enterprises and businesses, 13 which belong to the Fortune 500, have settled in the district, representing a total investment of some $20 billion USD. Among them, the number of US-funded enterprises has reached 145 covering such sectors as pharmaceutical R&D and production, special electronic equipment manufacturing, etc. Powerful companies such as Pfizer and Flextronics have established facilities and ventured further capital investment in Wuzhong district, which has become the first choice of an increasing number of American enterprises. Earlier this year, Wuzhong district established friendly relations with the Greater Los Angeles Area Cities of Downey, Bell Gardens and Huntington Park and now our contacts have expanded to further large areas of exchange and cooperation.
Currently and in the future, efforts will be focused on building Wuzhong District into a high-end industry area, a best livable area and an area of cultural and tourist attraction… Our objectives include constructing the lakeside New City as both livable and industrially suitable, and expanding accessibility and cooperation for new industry development, and such innovative industries as:
- biopharmaceutical industry
- new energy and materials
- service outsourcing
- culture and tourism
- equipment manufacturing
- electronic information
- and more
…In order to facilitate this development, and maintain a good and stable development environment…we will provide quality and efficient government services. For high-end enterprises with foreign investment, corporate tax will be levied at a reduced rate of 15 percent; a 150 percent deduction will be allowed for amounts spent on R&D, new products or new workmanship; and each year, more than 1 percent of local finance shall be allocated as special funds to attract further high-tech sector entrepreneurship… Such companies will be provided financial support for scientific and technological research, subsidies for home settlement, financing assurance…and comprehensive financial and business service as well as assistance in obtaining full implementation of various policies and financial governmental support at all levels. Further, we will ensure them follow-up service for the entire course, easy work process and one-stop administrative service.
A Chinese saying goes: “Seeing is believing.” Please be aware of the best choice for investment in Wuzhong District now…We assure you of best government service, business confidence and comfortable life. Let’s join hands and work together for a better tomorrow!
Finally, I wish you all good health and good luck! Thank you, and good evening.
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