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Chinese Consul General Zhang Ping is scheduled to speak later this month when the Long Beach-Qingdao Association’s business luncheon returns to the Southland.
Before the pandemic, the lunch meeting was an annual event for the sister city association. The Nov. 18 Long Beach gathering will be the first live, in-person lunch since 2019.
Long Beach and Qingdao, China, have been sister cities for 37 years.
“Presently, the United States and China are in a challenging relationship, while the friendship between our two cities is the strongest I’ve seen through our increased cultural and business exchange activities,” LBQA President Eduardo Vargas said in a release. “There is a very good opportunity for citizen diplomacy to play a role in reducing the U.S.-China tensions.”
China is the dominant customer at the Port of Long Beach.
For much of the past 18 months, a severe backup of container ships from China and elsewhere at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles was a major contributing factor in supply chain disruptions impacting the global economy.
While the congestion has been alleviated, labor and other port concerns continue to be worrisome as the holiday season arrives. Those concerns and broader trade questions will be addressed at the luncheon, according to a release from the LBQA.
Tom O’Brien, director of the Center for International Trade & Transportation at Cal State Long Beach, will moderate a panel with Port of Long beach Deputy Executive Director Noel Hacegaba and Dan Gardner, president of Trade Facilitators Inc.
Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Long Beach harbor commission President Sharon Weissman will speak before Ping’s keynote speech.
The Long Beach-Qingdao Association was founded in 1985 and has fostered cooperation through trade trips, education and student exchanges, and more. It is a member of Sister Cities of Long Beach, Inc., and Sister Cities International.
The luncheon will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the Keesal, Young & Logan law firm in the Union Bank building, 400 Oceangate. Tickets are $40 a person.
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