Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will lead a delegation of four Los Angeles City Council members and 20 other officials on a 12-day trade mission to three Asian countries starting today.
Garcetti will spend the first week in China, visiting Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing.
Garcetti is expected to sign an agreement with the mayors of Guangzhou and Auckland, New Zealand to foster exchange around trade, entertainment, tourism, and innovation. He will also sign an agreement that will enable Chinese patients to travel to Los Angeles for surgery and other medical care.
Garcetti will also make speeches at the ribbon-cutting of the Chinese office of the Los Angeles green-tech company SaveSorb, and the grand opening of a clinical laboratory run by UCLA and the Chinese firm Centre Testing International.
Garcetti is expected to announce the opening date of China’s tallest building, the 121-story Shanghai Tower, designed by Los Angeles architecture firm Gensler.
From China, Garcetti and the delegation will then spend three days in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, and one day in Tokyo.
Garcetti said Los Angeles has “strong economic ties with Asia, and we must continue to build on them to increase investment, trade, and tourism in our city.”
“Los Angeles is a global city and is our nation’s gateway to the Pacific Rim through LAX and the nation’s number one port,” Garcetti said.
China is Los Angeles’ top trading partner, with $164.38 billion in trade in 2013, according to the mayor’s office.
Japan is Los Angeles’ second biggest trading partner, with $43.5 billion, followed by South Korea with $22.5 billion.
Los Angeles is home to the largest Korean immigrant community in the United States, and has the most Japanese businesses in the U.S. Chinese tourists numbered 339,000, and Japan sent 289,000 visitors in 2012.
Twenty-six people will be in the city’s delegation, including Los Angeles City Council members Gil Cedillo, Curren Price, Mike Bonin and Joe Buscaino, as well as executive directors and officials from the city’s harbor and airport agencies.
The mayor’s father — former Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti — will also travel with the group and like other non-city employees will be paying his own way on the trip, which is aimed at attracting investment and promoting tourism to Los Angeles.
A separate delegation of business people led by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles Business Council and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce will also join Garcetti on the trade mission.
The city’s harbor and airport agencies — which manage the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles International Airport and LA/Ontario Airport — will pick up a $570,000 portion of the tab for the trip.
The mayor’s office said additional trip expenses will be paid by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority footing $25,000 of the bill, the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles covering about $23,000 and corporate sponsors putting in at least $30,000.
The mayor’s office list of confirmed sponsors include Universal Studios Hollywood, DFS, Greenland, Steinberg Architects and CJ Entertainment.