Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago City of the U.S., delivers a speech during an activity promoting Chicago as a business investment destination, in Beijing, capital of China, March 21, 2011. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)
CHICAGO, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley successfully completed his two-week visit to five major cities in China, and brought back great results to the most "China-friendly" city in the country.
Daley said, "We are all extremely happy with the results of the trip to China. Not only were we able to create a solid framework for expanding our business, educational and cultural connections with China and (China's) Hong Kong, but we were also able to execute six agreements that will begin to pay benefits to Chicago immediately."
Daley made the above remarks during Monday's press conference which was held at the offices of the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. He reported on some immediate outcomes of his recent trip to China's mainland and Hong Kong with a delegation of Chicago business leaders, where they began the "Chicago-China Friendship Initiative."
The purpose of this trip is to raise the City's profile as a center of international commerce, increase tourism from China and establish Chicago as the most "China-friendly" city in the United States.
The delegation visited five cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong in March 2011.
While in Hangzhou, Daley toured the Wanxiang manufacturing plant. The company's U.S. headquarters are in Rockford and has about 400 employees in the Chicago region.
The Mayor said that a three-year agreement with Wanxiang was signed during the visit. Under the agreement, the company and the City will develop cooperative educational, cultural and professional partnerships that will serve to motivate Chicago Public School students to choose Chinese as their World Language.
In addition, an agreement with Tianjin for continued cooperation between the two cities was signed during the visit. A similar cooperation agreement with Chongqing was reached as well.
Moreover, three "Sister Airport" agreements were reached for Chicago's O'Hare airport with the airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
"These are productive arrangements under which the parties share technical, commercial and environmental best practices and set up working groups to cooperate on a wide range of areas including airport management, construction, planning, operations, information technology and sustainable development," said Rosemarie S. Andolino, Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA).
Daley said the City is also pursuing a pilot program of joint city promotion with Shanghai that can serve as a model for city-to-city promotion in other regions of China. In addition, World Business Chicago and the Hong Kong Trade Association have agreed to coordinate a program of joint promotion to their respective networks as well through their publications.
In addition, he said that as a result of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit here and Daley's visit to Beijing, the Walter Payton and the Beijing No. 4 High School have agreed to be "Sister Schools."
Daley delivered presentations highlighting Chicago and the "Chicago-China Friendship Initiative," and did numerous media interviews to talk about how Chicago is a great place to do business and visit.
"We already have a very strong relationship with China, but the economic future of Chicago depends greatly on our success in seeking opportunities in China and around the globe," Daley said.
"There has never been a better time to expand the City's connections with China and no other American city is so committed to a long-term strategy of friendship and cooperation with China as Chicago," he said.