Jerry Brown’s Chinese Connection

Governor skips White House politics to talk trade with China's Vice President

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Jerry Brown's priorities are clear, when it comes to hosting California visitors.

He's cleared his calendar for part of today and tomorrow to take part in welcoming Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to become that country's president next year.

He hasn't spent that much time with a foreign leader since last July, when Brown greeted England's royal celebrity couple, Will and Kate, during their visit to California.  Brown isn't much of a star-struck guy, but he did greet them at the airport and take part in a dinner in the midst of royal wedding mania.

Jinping is no rock star, but he is a key channel to Chinese investment.

Brown's made it clear he wants to talk trade and jobs, during a tour of LA's port, and then during a private roundtable discussion on Friday.  Not surprising, given China's massive economic growth and potential for California goods.

Last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, California exported just over $14 billion worth of goods to China.  Silicon Valley was the biggest beneficiary, since computers and electronics were the largest single category.

Brown, who's still struggling with a sizeable state deficit, told the Associated Press this week that he wants to talk jobs, not politics, with Jinping.  No touchy subjects like human rights.

It's as good an explanation as any why Brown is spending part of the week with the Chinese leader, and no time at all with President Obama during his two-day stop in California.  

After all, Obama is here to siphon up cash that'll boost the economies of other states.

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