Irvine was the second stop on the U.S. State Department’s commercial diplomacy across the U.S., after Reno, Nevada.

Dilawar Syed, special representative for commercial and business affairs at the State Department, spent the day with Mayor Farrah Khan and Irvine businesses to report back to the federal government on how “to advance business opportunities for American businesses around the world,” Syed said while in Irvine Thursday, April 20.

During his two-day trip, Syed met with innovative startups and Orange County’s business leaders as well as toured electric car company Rivian’s headquarters in Irvine and visited the University of California, Irvine. Syed said he will convey Irvine’s “vibrancy” and “dynamism” to the president.

Specifically, throughout his visit, Syed said he wanted to ensure Irvine businesses were aware of federal resources “to support businesses for the export and promotion of their businesses around the world.”

If a local business is interested in expanding to a certain country or geographic area, Syed encouraged them to contact the State Department to help facilitate the expansion.

“We see there’s a huge demand for American technology for new innovation (globally),” he said.

As part of his role in the State Department, Syed said he had the opportunity to meet with officials who run sovereign wealth funds — surplus money accrued by a government — in the Gulf Nations.

“We talk about Irvine, we talk about Reno, we talk about regions that folks often think about when they think about investing in the United States,” Syed said. “There’s an opportunity to drive more investment, incoming foreign investment in some of these industries (like renewable energy and technological innovations) in communities of Orange County.”

The relationship between local governments and the federal government is key, Syed said, to facilitate these avenues for local businesses to grow.

The inaugural Cities Summit of the Americas to be held April 24-30 in Denver is another way the federal government is looking to bring together local leaders to discuss how to take business opportunities “to the next level,” he said. Khan is slated to attend the summit.

“Irvine is leading the way in Orange County,” Khan said. “We are not leaving anyone behind. We are picking up all of our cities throughout the county in making sure they have the resources they need to be successful.”

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