CHICAGO, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- "China's a strong partner to the United States, and particularly a strong partner to Chicago," Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, told Xinhua in an interview.
"I am very optimistic about the future of our economic relationships between the two countries. I think we need each other," Zopp said. "We've already built strong relationships across the United States, particularly here in Chicago with Chinese cities ... It's creating jobs here in Chicago and we're creating jobs in China."
"Everyone wants us to find a pathway to mutual strengthening of those relationships," she said.
However, "the biggest challenge right now for Chicago, for businesses here and for businesses in China is that we haven't reached a final agreement at the national level ... It's causing investors in businesses to hold back a little because they're concerned," Zopp said.
The lack of a final agreement between the two countries is slowing trade, she added.
With more than 160 companies having operations with China, 40 flights from Chicago to China every week, trade and tourism offices across China, Chicago has a strong relationship with China. In 2013, Chicago signed city gateway agreements with eight Chinese cities, becoming the first and only official U.S. Gateway City for investment and tourism.
Chicago has always been committed to building on the strong relationships with China and with Chinese cities, and will continue to do so, Zopp told Xinhua.
Zopp hailed China Railway Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) Sifang America's plant in Chicago "a significant contract,""not only because it's an important economic relationship but also because CRRC has built the assembly plant for those cars here in Chicago on the south side, and is creating hundreds of jobs for residents of the city of Chicago in their plant."
As Chicago's chief commercial officer, Zopp has been to China five times. "It's been impressive and I hope to go back. I think that there's a strong basis for the relationships that we have and which we can build and grow going forward," she told Xinhua.
Chicago will continue to be a strong partner for Chinese businesses and investment regardless of what is happening on the national level, Zopp said.
"I have every expectation that that's going to get resolved," she added.