SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — Gov. Jerry Brown started a week-long trade mission to China on Monday, along with several California business leaders, to seek investments that will benefit the state.

Brown plans to promote investment opportunities in California as well as open a foreign trade office in Shanghai. The trip has been in the works for more than a year and is his first official trip abroad since taking office in 2011.

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China expert Orville Schell, from the Asia Society in New York, said he had encouraged the governor to go and that the trip could open doors to attract large amounts of Chinese capital for several California industries.

“Hollywood is extremely interesting to them. Silicon Valley is interesting. California agriculture, I think they could invest massively in that,” he said.

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Brown will also use the trip to open a foreign trade office in Shanghai along with the Bay Area Council, which helped organize the business delegation.
Council spokesman Rufus Jeffris said the trade office will be financed with private donations.

“It’s an entry point for California businesses that want to make relationships, meet government officials, and find business opportunities in China,” Jeffris said. “This formal presence, an official presence, will help do that.”

California has not had a formal presence in China since 2003 when the state closed a dozen foreign trade offices there. Brown said he thinks California could attract “billions of dollars” in investments.

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