World Business Chicago (WBC) today will host a conference on trade and investment opportunities for a delegation of 100 Chinese business and government leaders, and nearly 100 counterparts from the Chicago area.

Chicago Deputy Mayor Mark Angelson, along with Vice Minister of Commerce for the People’s Republic of China Wang Chao, will provide keynote remarks at the opening of the conference. WBC will sign two Memoranda of Understanding with Chinese officials to identify areas for enhanced cooperation in investment promotion; the signings will be witnessed by Jim Reynolds, co-Founder, chairman and CEO of Loop Capital, Jerry Roper president and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and Deputy Mayor Angelson.

“International exchanges promote global understanding that is essential for a peaceful and productive world,” Angelson said. “International cooperation is integral to the economic well-being of our cities and our nations. Mayor Emanuel is committed to making Chicago the most China-friendly city in North America.”

During the first session WBC President Rita Athas and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Acting Director David Vaught will present Chicago’s/Illinois’ investment opportunities. In addition, civic leaders will present specific opportunities for infrastructure investment. In advance of the conference, members of the delegation toured the Jardine Water Purification Plant, the largest-capacity water filtration plant in the world, located just north of Navy Pier.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to present Chicago as an ideal location for Chinese companies looking to enter the U.S. market,” said Athas. “The conference also allows us to build relationships with our counterparts in China for continued trade and investment growth.”

The second session will include China’s outward investment plans. The group will hear real-world experiences from companies that have already opened Chicago-area offices, including Wanxiang America and Goldwind Capital USA.

The conference is being coordinated by WBC, with support from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) and the Department of the Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China. WBC Board members including Reynolds; Michael Moskow, vice-chairman, senior fellow for the global economy at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Craig Duchossois, CEO of The Duchossois Group; and Bill Brodsky, chairman and CEO of the Chicago Board Options Exchange will attend the sessions.

The Chicago area is home to more than 40+ mainland Chinese-owned companies including Goldwind’s North America HQ, Wanxiang’s North American HQ, Huawei Technologies, BYD, Xinhua, China Telecom Americas and ZTE USA.  More than 150 Chicago-area companies have locations in mainland China. China is the region’s largest global trade partner; in 2011 Chicago Customs District reported $41.8 billion in imports and $4.15 billion in exports.

There are 28 nonstop flights between Chicago and China’s mainland, and Hainan Airlines recently received federal approval to launch nonstop flights to Chicago from Beijing, the first mainland China-based airline to offer direct service. Additionally, Chicago’s only foreign business office is located in Shanghai, a Sister City to Chicago since 1985.

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