Mayor Tom Leppert signed a Friendship City Agreement with Dalian, a major seaport city in China on April 29, 2009. The signing ceremony was held at the City of Dalian’s City Hall. Dallas City Councilmembers Ron Natinsky, Tennell Atkins and Jerry Allen flanked Mayor Leppert as both Mayors signed the pact. Top officials in Mayor Xia Deren’s government were also on hand. The agreement is important since in China’s government and business circles, the pacts can be a strong signal that a “Friendship City” is a favored trading partner.