Arnold on China mission

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week The governor will visit Shanghai and Hong Kong later in the week. In Hong Kong, he will kick off an anti-piracy public-service campaign starring himself and action star Jackie Chan. As Schwarzenegger prepares to tackle China’s rampant intellectual property theft, one doesn’t have to travel far through the bustling streets of Beijing to realize how vast the problem has become. Counterfeit products are everywhere – from phony “Beijing 2008 Olympics” T-shirts hocked on the Great Wall, to the colorful Beijing street market where savvy tourists can buy knockoff Louis Vuitton and Prada handbags for pennies on the dollar. U.S. government officials estimate that Chinese piracy has cost American companies billions of dollars in sales, with counterfeit software in the Asia-Pacific region costing U.S. companies $8 billion last year alone. At least 90 percent of software programs and movie DVDs sold in China are pirated, according to some industry estimates. Schwarzenegger’s own action films are available for purchase in China, mostly on pirated DVDs. BEIJING – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was traveling here Sunday to start a six-day mission to promote California products and encourage Chinese officials to crack down on the piracy of copyrighted music, movies and software. Also on his agenda: political rehabilitation. Schwarzenegger’s trade mission will provide a much-needed fresh start after a losing special election campaign, allowing him to reclaim his role as California’s high-profile ambassador-in-chief. The governor and his wife, Maria Shriver, are scheduled to arrive this afternoon in Beijing, 16 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. A Special Olympics tribute and a reception with the 80 business leaders accompanying him on the trip highlight his first-day schedule, as well as a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu Zhongnanhai. China’s population of 1.3 billion and rapidly emerging economic clout make it a prime target for U.S. companies seeking expanded markets. But its economic policies also present a huge challenge. China sold $162 billion more in goods to the United States than the United States sold to China last year, and the gap is widening. President George W. Bush also visits China this week as part of a multination Asia trip. In China, he plans to pressure the country to revalue its currency, reduce its trade surplus with the United States and curb intellectual property theft. The China trip is Schwarzenegger’s third overseas mission since taking office in November 2003. In 2004, he traveled to Israel and Germany on his first mission, and to Japan in the fall. The governor’s schedule includes an event to promote trade at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, a tour of the Port of Shanghai, the premiere of the latest Harry Potter movie in Shanghai and a celebration of “California Grown” food products in Hong Kong. He also will hold business meetings on energy, sustainable development, agriculture and ports. California is the major gateway for U.S. trade to China, with cotton and computer-related products leading the way. The state exported $6.8 billion in goods to China in 2004, double what it exported in 2000, according to the California Chamber of Commerce. Schwarzenegger isn’t the only governor making the rounds in China this week. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is there on a similar trade mission, leaving members of that state’s delegation worried that Schwarzenegger’s visit would overshadow their own. “When (former pro wrestler) Jesse Ventura was our governor, he got a lot of attention in China because he was a celebrity,” said one delegate. “That’s sure to happen when Arnold gets here. California will get a lot more attention than Minnesota.” Maria Shriver will pursue her own schedule in China, visiting an orphanage and a battered women’s shelter. Schwarzenegger’s first stop today will be the promotion for the Special Olympics, which was founded by Shriver’s mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more