Today Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed Her Excellency Liu Yandong, the Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, to Chicago.
“It is my privilege to welcome Vice Premier Liu and delegation officials to Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Over the years, we have forged robust cultural and academic relationships with our Chinese friends and after today’s fruitful conversation I believe Chicago and the People’s Republic of China are on their way to a collaboration that is stronger than ever before.”
Mayor Emanuel held a bi-lateral meeting at the Chicago Cultural Center to discuss opportunities to strengthen cultural and academic ties between the City of Chicago and top members of Vice Premier Liu’s delegation. In addition to Mayor Emanuel, select members of the Mayor’s cabinet and local companies that do business with China were represented. Following the meeting, a banquet dinner was hosted at the Pritzker Pavilion in honor of Vice Premier Liu’s arrival to Chicago.
Chicago is the first stop on Vice Premier Liu’s trip to the United States. While in Chicago, Vice Premier Liu will also participate in the US-China University President’s Roundtable at the University of Chicago, attend a luncheon with Nobel Laureates and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer and visit After School Matters, a non-profit providing Chicago teenagers with career-based extracurricular activities. Vice Premier Liu will then continue her U.S. trip, visiting Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Mayor Emanuel’s meeting today with Vice Premier Liu is another successful installment in the dialogue between Chicago and China. In July of 2012 Mayor Emanuel hosted the Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Chao and a large business delegation to discuss investment opportunities in Chicago. Since then the Mayor has also met with numerous Chinese delegations including Mayor Tang Liangzhi of Wuhan, who signed a memorandum of understanding to promote further collaboration and dialogue between the two cities.
During Mayor Emanuel’s time in office multiple prominent Chinese companies have started operations in Chicago. In December 2012, the Bank of China opened a branch in the city, making Chicago only the third city for it to locate in the United States. Hainan Airlines and Cathay Pacific have also begun direct flights into Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Cathay Pacific’s service alone accounts for nearly $200 million in economic activity to the Chicago region. These additional flights bring the total number of direct flights between Chicago and China up to 44 each week. In addition to expanded direct airline service, Chicago is the leading national gateway for air exports to China, representing more than 25 percent of the entire market. In 2010, Chicago passed LAX as the #1 gateway for air imports from China.
Photo Credit: Patrick Pyszka // City of Chicago
Photo Caption: Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomes Her Excellency Liu Yandong, the Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China to Chicago.