Government has issued a challenge to Auckland, Los Angeles and Guangzhou to allow tertiary students easier access to study across the three cities.

Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment Stephen Joyce issued the challenge to universities in the three cities to work together this morning at the Tripartite Economic Summit in Auckland.

The summit is an attempt to improve cooperation between the three cities.

One outcome of the summit could be to put in place arrangements so students studied in all three cities and that would fulfil a "massively powerful vision", Joyce said.

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"So young people would do a couple of semesters here, a couple of semesters in Guangzhou, a couple of semesters in LA," he said. "Imagine the perspective they would get to succeed."

Joyce said Auckland's three universities were some of the best in the world but asked if better arrangements between universities were needed.

The summit has cost Auckland Council more than $400,000 according to councillor Mark Thomas - who doubts its value. Thomas, who is attending the event along with 750 others, wanted to know precisely what Auckland has gained from the summit, to be held next year in Guangzhou.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti is not at the second day of the summit and has had to return to LA.