The partnership aims to foster city-to-city promotions and regular talks on trade, investment and joint projects. The idea is to build relationships and eventually strike deals between companies from Chicago and China.
"We hope that the cooperation between the Chinese cities and Chicago can change the structure of trade, taking the next chapter to areas such as manufacturing, science and technology, new energy and healthcare rather than just soybeans and cotton," Gao said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is on a two-day trip in China to promote business opportunities with China-based representatives from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hyatt International, said that type of trade can be taken to a mutually beneficial place given the intensity and diversity of the economy.
"This will further advance Chicago as a destination for tourism, business and transportation, and demonstrates this administration's commitment to being the most China-friendly city in the world," Emanuel said.
The agreement came just days after the conclusion of the 24th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which was held in Beijing on Dec 19 and 20.
According to one of the agreements inked at the commission - an annual bilateral forum that was first launched in 1983 - China will make its electronic payment market more open to foreign companies, which will promote friendly competition as well as benefit people.
Access rules on e-payment services of a payment card are moving forward, the Ministry of Commerce said on Dec.23.
China UnionPay, a bankcard group with more than 400 domestic and overseas associate members, is the only service provider in the market, but China has not barred overseas service providers from entering the Chinese market.
Gong Bohua, a law professor at Shanghai-based Fudan University, said the deal suggests that China will launch a competitive mechanism, adjusting policies and relaxing control of the payment cards' market entry.
Gong added that regulations should meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization and protect China's safety of finance and information.
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, is writing the regulatory policies on overseas bankcards entering the Chinese electronics payment market, the Economic Information Daily said earlier.
Other JCCT achievements include China's joining WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement and submitting a revised bidding list with a similar bid scope to those of other participants; an agreement covering US beef entering the Chinese market and Chinese cooked poultry going to the US; and the US reiterating its commitment to offering China fair treatment during its export control system reform.
The discussion areas ranged from export control, intellectual property, bilateral investment and agricultural trade to government procurement, e-commerce, medicine and food safety.
The China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade is a dialogue and communication mechanism for the two countries to discuss and expand economic and trade cooperation, as well as solve related problems, said Shen Danyang, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, on Dec.23.
"We have the potential here today to demonstrate our two countries' ability to remove trade and investment barriers, increase the openness and efficiency of our markets and ensure that the stable trade and investment relationship moves forward," US Trade Representative Michael Froman said at the opening session.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between China and the US will total $500 billion this year, a huge increase over 1979, when it was $2.45 billion.