Declaring his 14-day Asian trade mission a success, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Monday he’d been able to plant seeds for Los Angeles’ economic growth in other countries and also had learned about the competition the city will face in the future. At a City Hall news conference, Villaraigosa said he returned from his junket with a renewed commitment to invest in the infrastructure of Los Angeles. “Folks, I tell you that if we are going to compete in the future, we need to make the investments in in our ports and airport, in our transportation system, in our buildings. We have to make this a priority. “You look at what some of these cities have done. With subways and a maglev system and bullet trains that are 40 years old and they’re still way ahead of us. We need to make that commitment to invest in ourselves.” “Everywhere we went, we were warmly greeted and we were able to send a message that Los Angeles and all cities can work together to overcome common problems,” he said. “We can establish a level of trust on the city level that will help our countries.” Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, one of 50 business leaders on the trip, said it was an important mission on a variety of fronts. “We visited both our partners of the future and our competitors of the future,” Toebben said. “You can’t build a world-class city without seeing what other cities are doing.” David Fleming, incoming chairman of the chamber, said the trip also provided a vision for future decisions that are needed locally. “We couldn’t have picked a better place to visit at a better time,” Fleming said. “It is part of what Los Angeles has to do in the future. What they have done there in the last 10 years is amazing and we have a long way to go to catch up.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECalifornia’s bungled $1 billion accounting system The $500,000 trip to China, Korea and Japan was Villaraigosa’s first extended tourist and trade trip – one he had hoped to make during his first year in office. He said he hopes to take similar trips to Mexico, Latin American and Europe. “We have to get our message out,” Villaraigosa said. “We are the second-largest city in the United States, have the busiest ports and the No. 1 destination airport for foreign travelers.” On the trip, Villaraigosa said he was able to finalize agreements for more than than $300 million in foreign investment in Los Angeles, visited the city’s tourist office in Beijing and expanded the “See My LA,” advertising campaign. “We laid the foundation for future collaboration and economic development between L.A. and our trade and tourism partners. Our mission established and strengthened relationships that will pay lasting dividends,” he said. Villaraigosa said the trip took on added significance coming at the time of heightened international attention on North Korea and its test of nuclear weapons.