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Sister City Program: Dalian and Oakland Cities Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 16th, 2020


In the international system, the idea of sister city program was established in 1958, even though little emphasis was placed on international trade and economic cooperation. In the mid 1960s to early 1970s, the focus shifted on economic, trade, and cultural cooperation.

This was attributed to the increased participation in the plan by Chinese and Japanese cities, which were considered some of the best places to conduct business in the world owing to the massive business opportunities and expansive markets.

Chinese cities, including the Dalian city, are taking part in the program due to China’s official entry into the World Trade Organization in 20011. China’s decision to join the sister city program is motivated by the special features, which are relevant to the American-Chinese relations.

The main aim Dalian and Oakland cities is to engage in economic cooperation, which in their context means an obligation to augment financial and commercial interests in the two cities on a reciprocally beneficial terms.

The two cities perceive the sister program as a centre or preliminary level for the establishment of a wider system of joint engagements (memoranda of understanding).

The cooperation of the two cities is a prove that business and cultural and business practices in China are gradually changing in a way consistent to the western practices.

However, the cultural practice of guangxi, popularly referred to as the personal networks, is one of the major impediments that are usually considered when designing policies that would govern the relations between the two cities2.

In the United States, the idea of sister cities was brought into light by the former president, Dwight Eisenhower.

His statement signified that the major objective of the sister city program was to encourage durable developmental networks in terms of communication, which would automatically reduce conflicts and misunderstandings.

This paper analyzes the cooperation between Oakland city situated in California and Dalian city in China.

Major Negotiations

The major negotiations between the two cities entail education and culture, which have led to the establishment of additional negotiations related to business connections.

The city of Oakland have established negotiations aiming at strengthening ties between universities, which is one way of strengthening cultural ties3.

The Liaoning Normal University in China is one of the institutions of high learning cooperating with the Oakland city to strengthen cultural ties between the Oakland city and Dalian city.

Furthermore, the chambers of commerce of both cities are under negotiations to strengthen business connections, which would definitely strengthen economic development between China and the United States.

In 2004, the chamber of commerce in Oakland city and the chamber of commerce in Dalian city signed an agreement that would enable them cooperate in matters related to conducting exchange programs in business, which was meant to generate business development in the two cities.

The companies in Oakland city would move to China in partnership with the Dalian entrepreneurs to open up joint business that would open up Dalian city to the global investors. The role of the Oakland companies was to stimulate trade by leading as an example to the local companies.

A delegation of Oakland city’s professionals have been visiting the Dalian city each year to evaluate the effectiveness of the trade agreement signed in 2004. Through the cooperation of the two cities, string links have been established in the field of food processing, monetary services, and automotive trade.

Culturally, the two cities have negotiated a deal that would allow American trade mission participants to return home with massive knowledge of the Chinese market and vice versa. American firms have been performing dismally in China due to the differences in culture between the two countries.

Understanding the behavior of the market is one of the strategies that would help a company or an organization to outdo others in the market.

Therefore, the city of Oakland came up with a plan that would enable American investors to participate in cultural shows and programs in China to help them understand the Chinese market. The American investors have come to the realization that it would take them time to learn and understand the Chinese culture.

In this regard, the city of Oakland came up with a program to facilitate easy flow of trade, without considering cultural differences4. In the Dalian city, students from Oakland have an opportunity of interacting with their follow students at the Missouri State University branch.

This implies that the two cities have allowed their universities to negotiate over the possibility of establishing branches in the two cities. The interactions are vibrant because they promote future business connections.

Liaoning Normal University and Missouri State University operate jointly a business program at the Missouri University in Dalian city5. Chinese students are encouraged to pursue a course in business with supervision from the Missouri State University.

It is established that the corporate culture of Chinese and Americans is very different. The combination of the two corporate cultures would be beneficial to students and business executives.

In 2005, the two cities negotiated a deal that would see Chinese students learning English language, a program referred to as the English Corner.

Similarities between Dalian City and the Oakland City

Dalian city was given full authority to operate as an independent city given its potential and ability to expand. It was to serve as a coastal open-up city, with a separate economic plan introduced in 1985, whose decision-making authority would come from the provincial headquarters.

The urban population of the city is over fifty-seven percent implying that it has a good market for the finished products, given the fact that urban people spend differently from those living in rural areas. The city has favorable environment for investment, with an average temperature of less than 11 decrees.

It has one of the reliable airports in the region, which serves both local and international citizens. Dalian Zhoushuizi Airport is situated at northwest of the town center6. It has direct flights to the mainland Chinese towns, as well as flights to other major international cities, including Seoul, Hong Kong, and Osaka.

In the recent past, the economic strength of the two has gone up, with an approximated GDP growth of 257 billion Yuan. Since 1996, the city has experienced a growth in the growth domestic product.

Industrial growth is approximated to b 21 billion Yuan. In other words, the growth of the city is ever growing as indicated by the GDP indicators. The city has experienced massive growth in agriculture, trade, tourism, and processing.

In sports, the city has attracted various investors and sportsmen, which has boosted the economic growth of the city. The city has one of the greatest natural harbors, which has helped it in attracting investors and tourists. The harbor does not slit. It does not freeze either.

Investors in the northern China region, as well as other investors from various parts of Asia rely on the harbor. The city is also rich in culture given the fact that Chinese paper cuts considered rich in content. People from the region believe that auspicious designs are the sign of luck.

The designs are also known to keep the devil at bay. Other designs, such as the child, lotus, and bottle gourd are believed to represent the presence large families.

The city engages in various economic activities, including domestication of birds, rearing of livestock, and fish keeping. These activities have boosted the growth of the city.

Oakland city shares a lot with the Dalian city in China. Just the way Dalian city is depended upon on many things, Oakland city is also valued in the US because it is considered the seventh developed city in the country7.

A report released by Forbes Magazine placed Oakland city at number ten as the best city to invest. The population of Oakland is favorable to business because the average age of population in the city is 25 percent.

The temperature of the city can be compared to that of Dalian because it is also favorable to business and tourism. Many investors and tourists prefer the city because it has cool weather for business.

Oakland International Airport is similar to Dalian Airport because it serves very many people from domestically and internationally.

For instance, the Oakland Airport served 13.5 million passengers and 0.6 million tons of cargo in 2003 alone. The 2003 airport passenger data shows that the city is a major hub for international businesses and tourists.

Oakland boosts of a bay area while Dalian is well known for its harbor. This implies that the two cities have been able to grow due to their proximity to the sea. The bay area is usually relied upon in terms of information technology, biotechnology, and investment.

In fact, other cities are fighting so hard to be like Oakland city meaning that it serves as an example to other cities in the US. The city is endowed with young talented labor force, developed real estate business, strong administration, and developed infrastructure.

This has attracted investment and tourism. The port of Oakland is among the largest in North America in the world. The port serves many states in the US and other neighboring countries. The city is compared to Dalian city because they both influence transport in their respective regions.

Just as Dalian city boosts of rich works of art and design, the city of Oakland is also known for its internationally acclaimed Museum, which has an excellent Babylonian style roof. The museum is dedicated to promoting natural sciences and history.

Any information regarding the city of California can easily be retrieved from the museum’s database. One of the publishing firms, Prentice Hall, rated the museum the best in the country. This has strengthened the ties between the city and other cities in the world.

International Trades

International refers to the exchange of goods and services between or among investors from different countries. The Oakland city and the Dalian city are involved in various international trades, including inter-firm trade, intra-industry trade, and intra-industry trade.

It should be understood that all forms of international trades entail importation and exportation of goods and services. The two cities are seriously engaged in importation and exportation of finished goods and human labor.

However, the modes of importation and exportation of goods are different since entry of goods and exit of goods in a country is controlled by the state due to security reasons. The two cities engage in intra-industry trade because goods produced exported to the city are similar to those produced in the same city.

Intra-industry trade means that an investor orders goods from another country, which are similar to what are produced locally. This has been advocated to boost the production and quality standards of goods produced in the two cities.

In the United States, goods produced locally are usually expensive due to the costs involved in producing them. For instance, food produced locally is extremely expensive because of the costs related to labor and importation of raw materials.

Similar goods are cheaper when imported from China because the cost of producing them there is very low. The city of Oakland imports automobiles from China because they are cheaper when compared to those produced in the country.

Similarly, the city of Oakland exports food to China because the production of food in the US is cheaper8.

Regarding intra-firm trade, the city of Oakland has entered into trade agreements with Chinese firms to produce goods with similar standards as those produced in the city.

The same case applies to the Dalian city, which has various outlets in Oakland producing goods that are similar to those manufactured in Dalian city. The Oakland city exports materials to the Dalian city while investors in the Dalian city import unfinished products from Oakland city.

This is inspired by the fact that the two cities differ in terms of technology9. A product manufactured in Oakland may demand that a certain special skill or machine is imported from Dalian city.

Instead of importing labor and machinery, it would be cheaper to export the raw material. It is the role of the commerce chambers of the two cities to agree on the modalities of importing and exporting goods.

Maintaining Relationships

The existing economic and cultural cooperation between the two cities can only flourish if a strong conflict resolution mechanism is established.

The main conflicts that would probably derail the cooperation between the two cities are related to trade, such as unfavorable balance of trade whereby one of the cities would perceive that it is not reaping maximally from the relationship.

In this regard, it is the responsibility of the cities’ managements to ensure that conflicts are resolved before they escalates into something complex that would impede the relationship of the two cities.

In the current international system, the major challenges include the security problem, which has been complicated by the terrorist organizations and Islamic extremism. The 9/11 incident showed that terrorism and extremism are the major threats to world business and cooperation.

The two cities cannot coexist in case they do not come up with ways of stemming out terrorism because they are all affected. Terrorism is one of the challenges referred to as the global common because no state is safe as far as the activities of terrorism are concerned.

Cooperation between the two cities could be brought to a halt in case they do not address the issue of terrorism. In this case, they should consider formulating policies that would be applied in the two cities.

This is mainly because terrorists can take advantage of the free movement of goods and people to exercise their heinous acts of terrorism. If security prevails, the two countries will continue cooperating, but if something related terrorism occurs, they will have no option, but to cut their cooperation.

Another issue that the two cities need to address in order to further their relations is the issue of trust, understanding, and civilization.

They have to come up with clear policies that would govern their relations as regards to investment because Chinese investors have always complained that their American counterparts are given undue advantage because they are favored by the organization in charge of trade in the world (WTO)10.

Lastly, the two states can do well economically if they realize that global financial crisis is a threat to their cooperation.

Future International Business Projects

Through research, it is established that the two cities have great future in case they maintain their cooperation. However, they have to do more in order to boost their cooperation in the future. They have to come up with joint business projects to facilitate their growth.

The two cities should come up with a taxation system that would be applied uniformly within the borders of the two cities because it would encourage investors to shift freely from one city to the other.

Moreover, they should enact business laws that favor investors in the two cities. Investors from the two cities should be involved in the designing of laws to prevent any complaints in the future.


Bagwell, Beth. Oakland: The Story of a City. Novato: Presidio Press, 1982.

Eltschinger, Cyrill. Source Code China: The New Global Hub of IT Outsourcing. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2007.

Haft, Jeremy. All the Tea in China: How to Buy, Sell, and Make Money on the Mainland. New York: Penguin, 2007.

Jessen, Gene. The Powder Puff Derby of 1929. New York: Sourcebooks, 2009.

Lippincott, Jonathan. The World is flat. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006.

McKnight, Tom. Geographica: the Complete Illustrated Atlas of the World, 3rd revision. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2001.

Perrins, Robert. Great connections: The creation of a city, Dalian, 1905–1931. Quebec: York University, 2005.

Siegelman, Stephen. Trader Vic’s Tiki Party! Oakland: Ten Speed Press, 2005.

Tramble, Thomas, and Wilma Tramble. The Pullman Porters and West Oakland. New York: Arcadia Publishing, 2007.

Ulrich, Allan. “Oakland Ballet Company review: Witty and eclectic.” San Francisco Chronicle 3.1 (2011): 29-65.


1Jonathan Lippincott, The World is flat (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006), 37.

2Tom McKnight, Geographica: the Complete Illustrated Atlas of the World, 3rd revision (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2001), 19.

3Stephen, Siegelman, Trader Vic’s Tiki Party! (Oakland: Ten Speed Press, 2005), 78.

4Allan Ulrich, “Oakland Ballet Company review: Witty and eclectic,” San Francisco Chronicle 3.1 (2011): 35.

5Robert Perrins, Great connections: The creation of a city, Dalian, 1905–1931 (Quebec: York University, 2005), 15.

6Cyrill Eltschinger, Source Code China: The New Global Hub of IT Outsourcing (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2007), 39.

7 Gene Jessen, The Powder Puff Derby of 1929 (New York: Sourcebooks, 2009), 78.

8 Thomas Tramble and Tramble Wilma. The Pullman Porters and West Oakland (New York: Arcadia Publishing, 2007), 24-57.

9Beth Bagwell, Oakland: The Story of a City (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1982), 48.

10Jeremy Haft, All the Tea in China: How to Buy, Sell, and Make Money on the Mainland (New York: Penguin, 2007), 88.

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