Los Angeles' leading international trade advocate is visiting three foreign capitals this week to help calm fears over the trade policies now being voiced by the Trump administration.
Stephen Cheung, the President of the World Trade Center Los Angeles, says he will be visiting Berlin, Germany, Marställe, France and Vancouver, Canada.
"A lot of them are quite nervous about the United States and what's happening ... we need to assure them from a sub-national level, that Los Angeles is open for business," Cheung said Sunday on NBC4’s "News Conference" program.
Local, state and national politics
But Cheung says his real concern is the potential for a trade war with China.
"The Los Angeles customs district is the largest customs district in the United States. Our two way trade with our international partners are over 400 billion dollars a year. And our largest trading partner is China."
Besides impacting California exports and the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbor, Cheung fears a trade war with China will impact LA's "soft power" which he says results in a massive infusion of investment and international tourism. Of the estimated 47.3 million visitors to Los Angeles County in 2016, a record one million came from China.
"The movies and television programing … the content that we spread throughout the world ... that's why people want to come to Los Angeles … if the Chinese media decides to put a negative spin on it that might impact the desire of Chinese tourists to come to Los Angeles.”
Also appearing on the program was Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn who represents the nation’s largest port complex. Hahn says a trade war with China would impact hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"Goods movement is the number one industry in LA County, so to have a trade war that in any way will lessen the amount of cargo coming in would be devastating to our economy in Los Angeles County," she said.
The potential trade war with China may also be a topic for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti this week, but not in California. Garcetti has scheduled a visit to Iowa as part of what appears to be a developing campaign for president.
"He's a candidate who might have some interest for national Democrats," said Christina Bellantoni, the Assistant Managing Editor for Politics at the Los Angeles Times.
"He doesn't really have anything to lose, he doesn't need to give up his seat to do this ... so he's going to explore it," she said.
Also expressing interest in a Garcetti presidential campaign was Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press.”
Todd suggested the LA Mayor consider "jet pooling" with Senator Kampala Harris, also a suggested candidate for president.
"Maybe we could have a California divisional primary before we get to Iowa," he joked.