Alameda County supervisors Tuesday cut short their meeting with Chinese officials who were here to explore options for keeping the NUMMI plant open because they had their own county board meeting to attend.
The high-ranking delegation of elected officials and business leaders from China made the trip to check out the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont at the urging of County Supervisor Keith Carson.
Hundreds of NUMMI's 4,800 employees live in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley.
After touring the Fremont plant, the nine-member delegation met with Carson, Supervisor Scott Haggerty, County Administrator Susan Muranishi and other county officials at the county building in Oakland, Carson said Wednesday.
However, Carson, Haggerty and Muranishi had to cut the meeting short because the Board of Supervisors had a lengthy hearing on appointing a successor to District Attorney Tom Orloff, who suddenly announced his retirement last week.
Carson, who chairs the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, said the meeting with the Chinese delegation, which was only in the area for 24 hours, had been arranged two weeks ago and it was "upsetting" that it had to be shortened.
NUMMI is a 25-year-old joint venture between General Motors and Toyota, but GM announced in June that it would withdraw from the partnership and Toyota announced on Aug. 27 that it won't order any vehicles from the auto plant after next March.
Toyota is still making Toyota Corolla cars and Toyota Tacoma trucks at the Fremont facility but 4,600 employees there will lose their jobs after March if another automaker doesn't take over the facility.
Carson said he reached out to various foreign officials in February after hearing rumors that the NUMMI venture might be coming to an end.
He said there have been "a series of communications back and forth" between local leaders and officials in China, Korea and other countries.
Carson said the Chinese delegation is the first foreign group to visit the NUMMI plant but he anticipates that there will be visits in the future by officials from Korea and other countries, although nothing definite has been arranged so far.
Carson declined to reveal many specifics about the Chinese group except to say that it comes from an area with a large economic and technology development zone.