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Governor visits Silicon Valley ahead of Asia trip

September 8, 2010 5:35:03 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger and more than 100 business leaders leave Thursday for a six-day trade mission to Asia and their goal is to create jobs in California.

The focus goes beyond exports. Exports are important, especially as China begins to develop a growing middle class with an appetite for wine and high tech products made in California.

But, as the governor leaves for Japan, Korea and China, he could be ushering in a new era where Asian companies export capital to California. It is estimated that 40 percent of all jobs in Silicon Valley are tied directly or indirectly to international trade.

"We export more than $120 billion worth of goods every year to 220 markets worldwide," Gov. Schwarzenegger said Wednesday.

The trade mission is anxious to boost those numbers as a way to create jobs, but the governor also sees an opportunity to import know-how and money from Asia to expand employment in California.

"When we have all of those countries that have the high-speed rail bid to help us build our high-speed rail, the costs will come down, and also this way, we get creative financing going," he said.

The state's Secretary of Labor, Victoria Bradshaw, sees Asian companies and capital already creating jobs.

"21 percent of the jobs in the clean tech industry are in manufacturing. We have a significant number of Asian companies coming to California to do their manufacturing, Korean, Japanese, Chinese," she explained.

Weili Dai traveled to the U.S. from Shanghai 30 years ago to attend school. 15 years ago, she co-founded Marvell, a semiconductor company that has grown to 5,000 employees worldwide. She is convinced that more trade between the U.S. and China will create more local jobs.

"People moving from China to U.S. and the U.S. collaborating with U.S. and China, this is how you make it happen," she said.

Higher labor costs in the U.S. are becoming less of an issue as a result of automation. Marvell's chairman and CEO believes the U.S. can re-establish itself in manufacturing, but only if there is a national commitment to make it happen.

"We're going to focus on bringing manufacturing jobs in the United States. We're going to automate the process. We're going to create new technology that can create this automations and therefore, we need people to do this," Sehat Sutardja said.

The governor has one more idea on how to generate jobs and money for California. When he gets to China, he is going to propose that the Bay Area host the World Expo in 2020. The World Expo is underway right now in Shanghai.


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