Government & Military

Rahm Emanuel

The former Obama insider helping make the Windy City a Chinese investment hub.

Mayor, City of Chicago

In early September, on a site overlooking Lake Michigan, Chinese firm Wanda broke ground on an approximately $1 billion luxury tower that China General Chamber of Commerce Chairman Chen Xu called the “biggest ever real estate investment by a Chinese company in Chicago, as well in as the United States.” Chicago has become a hot spot for Chinese investment — cumulatively, it ranked third nationwide in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm. The city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is determined to keep the money coming. He traveled to Beijing in 2013 to court investors and then to Guangzhou in late 2015 to attend a major trade summit, which his city also hosted in 2014.

Emanuel’s efforts may now face headwinds as vicious as those blowing off Lake Michigan. President Donald Trump is highly suspicious toward trade and even investment coming from China, and seems equally hostile toward Chicago’s leadership. Yet as the relationship between Washington and Beijing teeters, active local leaders like Emanuel may have to assume a far greater share of U.S. foreign and trade policy.

(Photo credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times)

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