Chinese firms easing Sino-US relations

By Xie Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/26 23:08:41

Pragmatic attitude likely to find balance: experts

A worker stacks prepared windshields at the Fuyao Glass America plant in Ohio, US, in October 2016. Photo: IC

Graphics: GT

Chinese companies' active investment in the US is acting as a lubricant for Sino-US relations, experts told the Global Times on Wednesday. They also noted that China and the US will be able to find a balance in the Sino-US trade status, which is a thorn in the side of the Trump administration.

Despite US President Donald Trump's previous threats to punish China for unfair trade, and the concerns that this could affect business relations between the two countries, Chinese businessmen have maintained a high profile in the US market in recent months.

"Chinese companies' participation in the US economy will help improve the economic and trade relations between China and the US," Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Jack Ma Yun, founder of domestic e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, announced in April that his company would hold a summit on June 20 and 21 in the US for small and medium-sized enterprises in the US.

In an invitation letter to the summit, Ma wrote that his company set a goal two years ago to help US enterprises supply products to Chinese consumers, and thousands of US enterprises have already benefited from that target.

In January, Ma also promised to support 1 million small businesses in the US when he met Trump, the Xinhua News Agency reported on January 10.

Cao Dewang, chairman of Fuyao Glass, also said at the Harvard China Forum 2017 that Chinese businessmen went to the US to "make money, not war," according to media reports.

Fuyao has invested more than $700 million in the US, and presently the company's annual sales in the US is around $400 million, according to a statement the company sent to the Global Times on Wednesday. The firm  supplies products to many well-known US auto brands, it said.

Besides, the Los Angeles-Silk Road American Forum has been launched in Los Angeles, and its first educational trade seminar was held on Tuesday. The forum aims to explore China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative and US involvement in it, the US News Express reported Tuesday.

Pragmatic attitude

There have been promising signs for the relations between the US and China recently, such as the meeting between the two countries' top leaders in early April in the US, as well as the US' decision not to label China a currency manipulator.

Li Xiaogang, director of the Foreign Investment Research Center at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said the view that Trump will damage economic and trade relations between the two countries is a misunderstanding.

"Trump was a businessman, and his cabinet team is mostly made up of CEOs of multinational enterprises, who have all benefited from globalization. Therefore, it's not that Trump wants to abandon globalization - he wants to establish more bilateral systems for reciprocal transactions," Li told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"With the opportunities in the gigantic Chinese market, and the ample investment from Chinese investors, Trump must soften any of his prejudices against China and must take a more pragmatic approach," Li said.

Fuyao Glass said in its statement that the US is actively encouraging Chinese manufacturers to do business in the US. Also, the company has hired 2,000 local workers in Ohio, bringing back some vitality to an area that has seen a lot of layoffs in the past 10 years.

In 2016, investment from China in the US amounted to about $46 billion, up 200 percent year-on-year and creating about 50,000 jobs, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

Trade disputes can be settled

According to Li, Trump is concerned about the US' trade deficit with China, but the two countries can find a solution to this problem, especially with the ongoing trade talks between the two countries.

Customs data showed that in the first three months of 2017, China exported about $88 billion worth of products to the US, up 10 percent year-on-year, while importing $38.4 billion worth of products from the US, up 25.9 percent year-on-year.

Li said that the trade deficit is exacerbated by the fact that the US is reluctant to export high-tech products to China. "I believe the disputes can be settled," he stressed.

According to Bai, it's not fair to put all the blame for the trade deficit on China as a big portion of China's exports to the US are from US companies in China.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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