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Gov. Jerry Brown says goodbye to China delegation

April 15, 2013|By Anthony York
  • California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks on a tour boat during his visit to Huangpu River Saturday in Shanghai, China.
California Gov. Jerry Brown speaks on a tour boat during his visit to Huangpu… (Associated Press )

 GUANGZHOU, China -- Gov. Jerry Brown bid adieu to dozens of government and business officials who crossed the Pacific to travel with him around China this week.

One last time, this group assembled in an opulent five-star hotel – this time the Ritz-Carlton in Guangzhou – ate gourmet food in the 72nd-floor restaurant, and received a final send-off from the governor who worked the room and mugged for photos with delegates.

“To all you people who came on this trip not knowing what you were going to get, I think we all received more than we expected and maybe more than we deserved,” Brown said in a final toast.

San Francisco architect Robert Steinberg said the trip was a resounding success. He said he’s been trying for months to break in to the university building design market in China to no avail. But at a meeting with the governor of Guangdong province Monday, Steinberg said he was introduced to a Chinese government official who offered her assistance in navigating the cumbersome Chinese bureaucracy.  

While delegates persevered through the evening’s festivities, most seemed ready for the trip to end. The seven-day sojourn was packed with ceremony and networking opportunities, but by the end began to take on the rigors of a political campaign.

Six memoranda of understanding were signed. Hundreds of business cards were exchanged. Countless bottles of California wine were poured.

It was clear by Monday morning that the trip had taken its toll. While the day promised meetings on carbon reduction and high-level party officials, delegates were making plans for a day of shopping  at the local jade market or planning other ways to break from the pack. 

Brown said this trip was about building relationships, and for many delegates, that was obvious. The 90-member team included several former Brown officials who told old war stories at the back of the buses that shuttled delegates from event to event.

The governor himself has one more day on the road. He will travel to the industrial port city of Shenzhen to appear at Chinese auto manufacturer Build Your Dreams, which is expected to announce a new assembly plant scheduled to open in Lancaster by the end of the year.

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@anthonyyorklat

anthony.york@latimes.com

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