California officials head to Asia to bring manufacturing to the U.S.

Trade missions to China, Korea, Japan designed to put economic value of state up front


The Los Angeles Daily News is reporting that California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A.-area officials and business leaders are going to Asia this week on separate trade missions with the same goal – bringing home investment and jobs.

Schwarzenegger was going to China, Japan and South Korea in a trip his office said would bring more commerce for the state.

Lancaster, CA officials were off to China to BYD, a Chinese manufacturer of electric cars and solar panels, to build a manufacturing plant in the Antelope Valley.

"That would be a jewel," Jack Kyser, chief economic adviser for the Southern California Association of Governments, said of the BYD possibility.

BYD announced in April that it plans to establish its North American headquarters on Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles. Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, who negotiated that deal, said he will not be on this trip but plans a trip to China later this year.

Lancaster officials said Tuesday their vision extends beyond the possibility of BYD building a factory in the High Desert.

"I have hopes of (attracting) manufacturing plants," Lancaster Mayor Mayor R. Rex Parris said, emphasizing the plural. "We're not just talking with BYD."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who will join the Lancaster contingent on the trip, said representatives are "working very hard" on completing a BYD deal.

That could be very good news for Lancaster, where an unemployment rate topping 18%  makes it one of the California cities bitten hardest by the bad economy.

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