DOWNEY - Hoping to cultivate a relationship centered on business and trade, city officials on Tuesday graciously hosted a delegation of Chinese statesmen who vowed to maintain friendly relations with Downey and the region.Traveling from the city of Suzhou, the Chinese delegation's arrival comes just months after Councilman Mario Guerra visited the city in January as a part of a trip sponsored by the Latin Businessmen Association. "Suzhou is a small city by Chinese standards - it only has a million people," said Guerra with a laugh. "Suzhou is a master plan city - they are way ahead of their time in terms of business, trade and energy. We hope to foster international business relations with them." On Tuesday morning, Guerra greeted the delegation and led the group of nearly a dozen Suzhou officials on a tour of the Police Department, City Hall, the Rio Hondo Event Center and the Columbia Memorial Space Center. Several city officials, including Guerra, Councilman David Gafin, Police Chief Rick Esteves and Fire Chief Jeff Turner, met with the Suzhou officials during lunch at the Rio Hondo Event Center. Elected officials from Bell Gardens and Huntington Park also attended the lunch. Guerra said the Chinese officials "stated many times how Downey is special and our relationships will continue as a sister city in many ways for the mutual benefit of both cities." Though Suzhou is not an official sister city of Downey, Guerra believes that building a relationship with the city can only benefit Downey. "We're interested in fostering business relations, not for imports, but for exports," Guerra said. "Suzhou is a very high-end city with its own energy source. I'll do anything that helps our city and the region. It's a part of the global economy." The Suzhou delegation will spend the remainder of its four-day trip visiting the cities of Bell Gardens and Huntington Park.
********** Published: June 17, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 9