Sub-national exchanges important to China-US relations: Ambassador
Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai delivers a keynote speech at the China General Chamber of Commerce-USA (CGCC) luncheon during the National Governors Association(NGA) 2017 Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on July 13th, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Qian Shanming]
Subnational exchanges between the U. S. and China is one of the many engines that drive the China-U.S. bilateral relationship forward, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai said on Thursday in Rhode Island during the ongoing 2017 U.S. National Governors Association (NGA) Summer Meeting.
Cui Tiankai said on Thursday that the expanding and deepening China-U.S. relationship is driven by many engines and economic and trade relations, as well as sub-national exchanges, are two important driving forces.
Cui made the remarks at the China General Chamber of Commerce-USA luncheon during the ongoing National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Ambassador said that China and the U.S. have now become interdependent partners, coordinating and cooperating on major international and regional issues, and enjoying $550 billion in bilateral trade and $170 billion in two-way investment.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bervin delivers a keynote speech at the CGCC luncheon during the NGA 2017 Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on July 13th, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Qian Shanming]
Meanwhile, cooperation and exchanges between Chinese provinces and U.S. states and cities are also propelling the bilateral relationship forward.
"We are now making greater efforts to expand such cooperation and exchanges. We have established seven pairs of trade and economic exchange mechanisms between Chinese provinces and U.S. states or cities, including the states of California, Texas, New York, Iowa, Michigan, Washington and the city of Chicago. Under these mechanisms, more than 50 investment programs were signed last year with contracts totaled $2.5 billion. There will be over 100 trade missions travelling across the Pacific this year. I am quite confident that there will be better engagement between us if more states and cities could establish such mechanisms," said Cui.
Cui Tiankai said that China is upgrading its opening-up level in the context of comprehensive reforming, adopting measures like establishing pilot free trade zones, streamlining procedures for foreign investment companies and opening more sectors for foreign businesses. These reform efforts will open up new prospects for China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation.
Talking about Chinese outbound investment, the Ambassador said that many Chinese companies have a keen interest to invest in the U.S., which has brought real benefits to local economic development in the U.S.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan delivers a keynote speech at the CGCC luncheon during the NGA 2017 Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on July 13th, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Qian Shanming]
"Now, every state and almost every congressional district has Chinese investments. These investments have brought a total of 141,000 jobs to the U.S., and most of them in manufacturing. Chinese investment is making positive contributions to the local economy, employment and tax revenues. In order for more investment programs to succeed, there is a clear need to make sure the federal-level policy tools, like CFIUS, will play a facilitating rather than obstructing role," said Cui.
Cui continued to say that with growing trade and deepening interdependence, some disagreements and disputes are inevitable, and that's why the two sides have to sit down and discuss in a sensible way.
"It is exactly for that purpose that China and the U.S. will hold the first round of Comprehensive Economic Dialogue next week in Washington, D.C. This is one of the four major dialogue mechanisms set up by our Presidents at Mar-a-Lago in April. We are looking forward to the mutually-beneficial outcomes of this dialogue. We hope the dialogue will be a meaningful exchange and help to build an even stronger basis for our economic and trade relations, as we deal with the uncertainties of the global economy," said Cui.
(From left to right) Virginia Governor Terry Mcauliffe, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval , Arizona Governor Doug Ducey conduct a panel discussion on U.S.-China subnational exchanges during the NGA 2017 Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island on July 13th, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Qian Shanming]
During the luncheon on Thursday which featured presence of several governors and business leaders, Cui expressed hope that the U.S. business community would talk to the federal government in an effort to resume the BIT talks between China and U.S., which is now shelved by the Trump administration after going through 33 rounds of negotiations in the past five years.
Cui urged the federal government to listen to voices at local levels from states and cities, saying that the BIT would address pressing concerns of business communities from both countries.
Matt Bervin, Governor of Kentucky, said that enthusiasm is high at the state level to further expand business ties with China. The governor also said that the federal government is actually willing to listen to voices from the states.
"I will speak for Kentucky, but I think I speak for the other governors here as well, we want your investment. We are a home for potential investment for you, and we will be grateful to have your investment. Do expect to have conversations with the governors of America. Yes, trade policy happens at the federal level. It does. But I will tell you, this administration, they are regularly, repeatedly meeting with governors, speaking to us, wanting to know our take-on things. And because of that, we have their ear, and they have ours," commented Bervin.
The luncheon on Thursday also featured presence of governors from Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, Nevada, and Arizona, who expressed the same interest in further strengthening trade and investment ties with China and promised good return to Chinese investment.
Larry Hogan, Governor of Maryland, said that China is Maryland's fifth largest export market and its fourth largest market for imports.
"We're really proud of the excellent relationship that we have with China, which is evident through the success of the 27 Chinese companies that already headquartered in our state. Looking ahead, we very much want to further strengthen Maryland's ties with China and we want to find ways to do even more businesses together in the future," said Hogan.
As Ambassador Cui Tiankai pointed out, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump have already set a very positive tone for the China-U.S. bilateral relationship. Now, it is for both sides to redouble efforts to make sure that the mutually-beneficial nature of the China-U.S. economic and trade relations is given full play in future endeavor.
"When we make the pie bigger, both China and the U.S. will be able to take a bigger bite," said Cui.
The 2017 NGA Summer Meeting runs from July 13th to 16th in Rhode Island, where more than thirty governors, as well as business leaders from home and abroad, will be attending the event. On Friday, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also attended the NGA summer meeting and delivered keynote speeches.