Cliff Owen / Associated Press

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks with reporters at the National Governors Association winter meeting Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Jerry Brown says he'll lead California trade delegation to China

Published: Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4A
Last Modified: Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012 - 9:44 am

WASHINGTON – Gov. Jerry Brown, who in recent weeks has become increasingly interested in luring Chinese investment to California, said Saturday that he will lead a delegation to China, likely this year.

"I think we've got to get moving on this," the Democratic governor said at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

Brown announced last week, while meeting with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping in Los Angeles, that the state would open privately financed foreign trade offices in China. California's taxpayer-funded offices there and in other countries were closed amid controversy in 2003, with critics questioning their effectiveness and cost.

Brown said he hopes to persuade Chinese investors to invest in California projects instead of Treasury bills. He said China is a country of staggering wealth and that, from California's perspective, "it's a source of investment, direct investment."

Brown said Mike Rossi, an adviser, is handling the formation of a group of private interests in California to collaborate with their counterparts in China. Brown dined Friday with Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui and discussed China privately with officials at the State Department.

"This is going to be an important mission," Brown said.

Brown has rarely left the state since taking office last year and has not left the country on official business this term.

– David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau

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