Bridging the Divide


Mayor Emanuel and Andy Zopp of World Business Chicago meet with the executive team of the Bank of China this July.

This July, Mayor Emanuel and World Business Chicago led a successful economic development mission to China and Japan.

“With China and Japan being the world’s second and third-largest economies by nominal GDP, WBC believes that further strengthening our relationships with these countries is key to driving economic growth in Chicago.” said Andrew Spinelli, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives at World Business Chicago.

Chicago already has strong economic relationships with both countries. In 2013, Chicago signed the first-of-its-kind Gateway Cities Agreement with China’s Ministry of Commerce and eight major Chinese cities: Beijing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin and Wuhan. The agreement laid the groundwork for increased economic collaboration between Chicago and China. 


“With China and Japan being the world’s second and third-largest economies by nominal GDP, WBC believes that further strengthening our relationships with these countries is key to driving economic growth in Chicago.”

Andrew Spinelli, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives, World Business Chicago


Due to the success of this collaboration, Chicago signed a new five -year working plan for the Agreement at the Chicago-China Investment Forum, hosted by World Business Chicago, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese Investment Promotion Agency, creating a pathway for even more robust economic connections into the future.  Over 200 companies attended the forum.

While in Japan, Mayor Emanuel signed an economic memorandum of cooperation with the Japanese government to increase economic ties between the country and Chicago. This is the first economic agreement that the government of Japan has signed with a city anywhere in the world.

The Mayor and WBC met with a number of high-profile officials including the Vice President of China, the Mayor of Beijing, the Chinese Minister of Commerce, the Governor of Tokyo, the Japanese Foreign Minister and the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and business leaders in both countries.

These meetings proved fruitful for Chicago’s economy. Shortly after meeting with the delegation in Tokyo, large manufacturing and machinery company DMG MORI confirmed the relocation of its North American headquarters to Chicago in the Bronzeville neighborhood. 

While in China, Mayor Emanuel met with CRRC, who despite recent trade difficulties, recommitted their intent to locate in the Hegewisch neighborhood on Chicago’s Southeast Side to produce CTA rail cars and initially bring over 200 jobs to the city.

“This is just another example of how global outreach can make a local impact on inclusive growth,” said Andrea Zopp, President and CEO of World Business Chicago. “Because of this, for the first time in 50 years, CTA trains will be built in the city of Chicago again.”

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