D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Tuesday said he wants the city to do more business with China — starting with marquee real estate projects like the redevelopment of Walter Reed and St. Elizabeths Hospital.
"I envision a District that welcomes investors from abroad who realize how strong our economy is and want to be a part of it," Gray said at a China business opportunities event held at the Cloyd Heck Marvin Center. "Make no mistake, the District is a global city and we will pursue global opportunities to support our businesses as they compete around the world and create jobs here at home."
Gray's comments come at a time when the federal government is downsizing its own spending and localities are looking to cushion that blow by boosting private business efforts. Gray also recently announced his plan to offer tax breaks to individuals who invest in local start up companies.
Last month, city development heads visited Shanghai and Suzhou to meet with investors and highlight the District's development major opportunities like Walter Reed and St. Elizabeths. Several of those investors are now planning trips to D.C. to see those site in person, the mayor's office said.
Gray also said he and four other city officials and 20 local business leaders are also planning an economic development trip to China in June. A spokesman for the Department of Planning and Economic Development said the city is still working out travel costs, but D.C.'s sister city Beijing and other potential sponsors are helping to pay for part of the trip.