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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Engaging Regions in Globalization: The Rise of the Economic Relationship between the San Francisco Bay Area and China

  • Author(s): Volberding, Peter
  • et al.

International economic policy is primarily perceived to be a product of national governments. However, while traditionally nation-centric policy formations still take precedence in international economic matters, the past decade has witnessed the remarkable growth of regional actors in policy creation. The first part of this paper analyzes the ascent of regional actors in the San Francisco Bay Area and its growing economic partnership with China. Organizations such as the Bay Area Council have capitalized on the region’s strengths, such as its entrepreneurial talents and richly diverse ethnic makeup, to promote economic ties with Chinese regions and businesses. In particular, three economic sectors—the ports, high technology, and green technology—have dominated the relationship between the San Francisco Bay Area and China. Moreover, this paper argues that not only have regional actors become increasingly prominent in policy creation, but also these policies have a positive feedback effect on the regional economy. This paper finds that the Bay Area’s relationship with China has generated tangible local benefits, including the creation of jobs and an expanded tax base, even during the current economic downturn.

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