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June 8, 2010 > Goodwill brings a new sister city to Union City

Goodwill brings a new sister city to Union City

By Shavon Walker

On May 25, 2010, Union City's Sister City Committee, City Manager Larry Cheeves and Vice Mayor Richard Valle presented informed Council of their delegation's April trip to Liyang (China), Union City's newest sister city.

The sister city-formation process typically involves an exchange of Letters of Intent followed by an official visit between the two cities at which a "Twinning Ceremony" is performed. The ceremony serves primarily as a public forum for a Twinning Agreement to be signed by both cities. The City of Liyang held its Twinning Ceremony for Union City during its Tea Festival.

The delegation consisted of Vice Mayor Richard Valle, Deputy City Manager Tony Acosta, Helen Kennedy and Makhan Bains, owner of Raja Sweets & Indian Cuisine and Teriyaki Experience.

On the first day of their visit, the delegation traveled to the Bamboo Ocean Ecotourism destination, drank tea with their hosts and had dinner and an official introduction to government representatives from Liyang.

The second day featured the Tea Festival and the Tourism Expo. The delegation was given the privilege of participating in the festival's opening ceremony, Liyang's eleventh. Union City's representatives visited the People's Plaza, a tour of Tian Mu Lake and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) detailing Liyang and Union City's official relationship as sister cities. During the tea festival, the delegation savored Liyang's specialty, a white tea. A banquet was held to celebrate the ceremony, with a gala performance in their municipal auditorium.

Vice Mayor Valle described the Bamboo Preserve. Liyang's goal is to be a green city, hence the preserve and Tian Mu Lake. The preserve comprises approximately 38 acres and is designed as a theme park. Vice Mayor Valle pointed out the "Old Man" copper sculpture and identified the mayor, deputy mayor and other government representatives, as well as staff members.

Valle also mentioned the gift exchange between himself and Mrs. Han, a secretary for the Party committee. His gift was a crystal dragon, which happened to be Mrs. Han's zodiac sign. He had no idea. She was thrilled.

He gave a presentation about Union City's economic program to a number of Liyang-based businesses. Six were interested in moving forward and establishing ties and contact information was provided.

Liyang is home to a number of industries - electronics, telecommunications, equipment-manufacturing for power transmission and transformation, engineering of machinery and automotive parts, bio-medicine and fine chemicals, construction materials, industrial food processing, agriculture and tourism. All are potential trade areas for Union City businesses.

Each August, Union City celebrates her sister relationships with other cities around the world - Mexico's Santa Rosalia, India's Jallandar, the Philippines' Pasay City and Thailand's Chiang Rai. Aztec dance groups, Thai dancers, performers from the Indian Institute of Arts and Culture and Mabuhay Folkloric Ensemble from the Philippines have participated in previous years' events.

A delegation from Liyang, consisting of the mayor, vice mayor, and a few staff, will visit Union City in August during the annual Sister City Festival.

For more information, visit www.UnionCity.org

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