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The California-China Business Summit, featuring a keynote address by Governor Jerry Brown and breakout sessions in four areas (agriculture, ecommerce, clean technology and infrastructure) was held at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown LA on Tuesday, May 9, 2017. About 170 delegates traveled from numerous Chinese provinces and localities to Los Angeles to attend the event. As part of this summit, the US-China Cleantech Center (UCCTC) organized a set of panel discussions featuring innovators, business leaders, State officials and entrepreneurs in the cleantech area. Speakers and panelists included Robert Weisenmiller, Chair of the California Energy Commission,  Eric Li, Founder and CEO of BDP EnviroTech, Hongjun Moushegian, Manager of Business Strategy at SoCal Gas Company,  Xiaoming Wu, VP of TestAmerica Environmental Services (JSTI Group), Kenneth Alston, Investment Manager of the California Clean Energy Fund (CalCEF), Tony Morberg, CFA of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), as well as presentations from three projects receiving funding and support through LACI.

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The conversations, moderated by UCCTC founder Dr. An Feng, are a timely reminder of the benefits and opportunities for close cooperation between private and public entities in both the United States and China on renewable energy and clean technology solutions vital to combating climate change. Participants noted that the two geographies have many similarities and synergies in terms of their ambitions and progress. While California implemented the first Cap-and-trade program in the United States, now linked to Quebec; six Chinese municipalities are also implementing their own Cap-and-trade pilot schemes in anticipation of a future national program. Conversely, the large volumes of solar panels produced by Chinese firms, and the manufacturing efficiency achieved by those firms, have contributed to the cost competitiveness of solar energy in California and helped consumers and businesses switch to renewable energy at a lower cost.

Chang Jun, writing in China Daily, says “California has long been at the forefront on China’s battle against pollution and climate change.” The opportunities for collaboration and technology transfer are likely to increase significantly as China ramps up ambition to achieve its 2020 13th Five-Year Plan goals. During the period, the country anticipates spending 2.5 percent of its GDP on environmental issues, Dr. An noted. At current economic output, spending on environmental remediation and clean technology could exceed US$250 billion (1.7 trillion RMB) annually, with the potential to generate significant opportunities for American firms providing clean energy technologies and solutions.