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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at Ambassador Locke's Investment Forum Reception

Reta Jo Lewis
Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs 
Beijing, China
December 5, 2012


Thank you Ambassador Locke for that kind introduction.

Good evening. It is really a pleasure to be here with all of you as we conclude the Ambassador’s Investment Forum. I would like to thank Ambassador Locke, the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), AmCham China, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event which brings benefit to both the United States and China – jobs, revenues, and ideas.

I also want to acknowledge Under Secretary Hormats, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary McCarthy, and thank Philadelphia Mayor Nutter and the many U.S. state and city officials here with us this evening. I believe there are 25 U.S. states represented. These types of visits significantly strengthen an already strong, mutually beneficial commercial and cultural relationship between the United States and China.

When we speak about our countries, it is easy to fall into the habit of talking about our capital cities. When we say that Beijing and Washington, DC are working together, we typically mean the countries as a whole.

We all know, however, that the work of nations also takes place at the subnational level – the states, the provinces, and the cities.

One of the real highlights for me during my almost three years as the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs has been the development of the U.S.-China subnational initiative. Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) supporting U.S.-China subnational cooperation on January 19, 2011.

Since that time, we have witnessed a historic level of engagement at the subnational level, including dialogues and exchanges like the U.S.-China Governors Forum.

For example, Vice President Xi Jinping visited the United States in February of this year. Vice President Xi traveled to Iowa and Los Angeles with Vice President Biden after meeting President Obama at the White House. Vice President Xi’s visit coincided with an explosion of city-to-city and state-to-province ties, a surge in U.S. local governments setting up trade offices in China and increasing demand for foreign investment.

At present, there are over 200 sister-city and sister-state relationships between the United States and China, and more than 30 state trade offices working in China.

U.S.-China ties are clearly richer and more extensive than ever before. Bilateral cooperation and dialogue have moved beyond traditional diplomacy into the fields of economic and commercial engagement and cultural and educational exchanges.

The further we deepen our relationship, the more we need to bring into play the skills and energies of partners beyond our central and federal governments.

I believe that engagement at the local level offers an exciting and effective method for Americans to partner with Chinese provinces on a host of issues of mutual concern.

All of our 50 states and five territories welcome your interest in investing in America. The fact that Mayor Nutter has traveled all the way from Philadelphia underscores that U.S. local communities are serious about attracting investment from China.

As you may know, individual U.S. states have economic outreach offices in China that promote their state’s interests. Most of these offices work both ways, assisting U.S. companies from their states coming to China, as well as Chinese companies looking to expand into that state. Direct exchanges between U.S. and Chinese official at the state/provincial and local levels have been very productive for both sides.

As your firms consider going global, we hope you will consider each of our 50 states and five territories.

Now, I have the pleasure of introducing to you Mayor Michael A. Nutter of Philadelphia.

Recently re-elected to his second term as mayor of his hometown, Mayor Nutter has set an aggressive agenda for America’s fifth largest city – devising the City’s innovative school reform strategy, vowing to strengthen community policing through Philly Rising, a unique partnership between vulnerable neighborhoods and the City, and continuing to implement the nationally recognized Green Works Philadelphia initiative that is helping to make the City of Philadelphia become one of the greenest cities in America.

Mayor Nutter currently serves as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Mayor Nutter was born in Philadelphia and educated at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Committed to public service, Mayor Nutter served almost 15 years on the Philadelphia City Council before his election as Mayor of Philadelphia in 2008.

Mayor Nutter.

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