WTCLA Meets President Obama and Chancellor Merkel

May 30, 2016


HANNOVER, GERMANY - The World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA) has made incredible progress in its goal to becoming a focal point of foreign direct investment (FDI) and international trade in the Los Angeles region. Stephen Cheung, President of the WTCLA, and his team recently returned from the Hannover Messe Trade Show in Hannover, Germany where the United States was this year’s partnering country. Most excitingly, WTCLA presented to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama. They spoke about the success of local Los Angeles companies and the vast opportunities available for international business throughout the Los Angeles region.

Mr. Cheung and WTCLA International Trade Manager Michael Smith showcased the Gecko Gripper, an innovative technology created by Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena, California that is being spun-out for commercialization by Precision Robotics at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. The five-minute interaction with the heads of state included a demonstration of the technology, with Chancellor Merkel displaying her scientific aptitude by disengaging the device that mimics the adhesive properties of the Gecko lizard.

The Gecko Gripper’s application is to assist in the retrieval of space debris and decommissioned satellites, which can then be returned to Earth to either be repurposed or disposed. While the device showcased was a prototype, there is currently a Gecko Gripper at the International Space Station undergoing testing. It will return to Earth in the spring of 2017 for evaluation.

Simultaneously with their successful trade mission, WTCLA launched a completely new website that provides global businesses extensive data and informational resources on how to do business in Los Angeles. The new website is specifically designed to provide access to critical economic information and features each of Los Angeles County’s 88 cities and spotlights their geographic location relative to downtown Los Angeles, population demographics, key industries, and unique business operating requirements. You can explore the site at

Looking forward, WTCLA’s signature event, SELECT LA, is ready to take place June 16-17, 2016. SELECT LA brings together hundreds of international investors from around the world to provide a complete understanding of the investment ecosystem throughout the region. LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will both speak to an audience that will also include local companies. This event is free for international attendees with a VIP Reception at the backlot of Fox Studios. 

For more information about SELECT LA – Southern California’s largest international trade event – and its program, please visit