U.S. governors and four Chinese provincial leaders from Zhejiang, Yunnan, Qinghai, and Anhui gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah July 15-17 for the inaugural U.S.-China Governors Forum, which is being co-convened by the National Governors Association and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs Reta Jo Lewis led a State Department delegation helping to facilitate this forum. Chinese provincial party secretaries and governors will meet with U.S. governors and business leaders to exchange ideas and enter into partnerships in areas including, but not limited to, trade and investment, energy, educational exchange, and environment.
The forum was established by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Secretary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi during President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington in January. The MOU strengthened cooperation at the subnational level by encouraging U.S. governors to visit China and Chinese provincial leaders to visit the United States. During President Hu’s visit, Secretary Clinton emphasized that “states and provinces can be laboratories that generate solutions” and explained that “we can help each other grow trade and investment, create jobs, educate our children, and solve the problems we all share” through this type of cooperation.
The forum will build on and expand existing cooperation between the United States and China by encouraging state and provincial leaders to share best practices. It will also formalize relationships between the leaders who are best placed to understand the economic, educational, and environmental needs of their respective states and provinces. The goal of the forum is to foster direct interaction at the subnational level in order to promote economic growth and prosperity. Thus, this gathering of subnational leaders will serve as a platform to promote peer-to-peer exchanges between U.S. state governors and Chinese provincial leaders. Special Representative Lewis explained that we envision [this]…forum as merely the first in a series of exchanges. A reciprocal visit of U.S. governors to China is being discussed for October 2011.
The United States and China have been cooperating at the subnational level for ten years. In 2010 alone, at least eight governors led trade delegations to China and more than 100 Chinese provincial officials visited the United States. U.S. and Chinese state and local governments have established numerous cooperative relationships, including 36 sister provinces and states, 161 pairs of sister-cities, university exchanges, and EcoPartnerships on energy and environmental cooperation.
For press inquiries contact the Office of the Secretary’s Special Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs at GlobalInterGov@state.gov or call 202-647-7710.