It would be a mistake to overlook China's market potential, says Louisiana official

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/6/15 10:02:01

Despite the ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China, it would be a mistake to overlook the market potential of the world's second largest economy, a local economic official of the southeastern US state of Louisiana said here on Tuesday.

"Certainly a strong economy is based on engaging all markets and particularly all major markets," Don Pierson, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington.

"China will always represent a major market and I think it would be a mistake to overlook the potential that is there," Pierson said, noting "we've long been outstanding trade partners."

All grain products, such as soybeans, wheat and rice, that are harvested from America's breadbasket are shipped to China and other trading partners through export terminals in Louisiana, which sit above the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River, he said.

"We've been able to attract investment from China because of the outstanding characteristics of low energy costs of this robust logistics port system that is a great gateway to the global economy," said the official, who has been to China for over 20 times during his 27 years of economic development experience.

Reflecting on his recent trip to China in March, Pierson said he continued conversations to build relationships to support those Chinese companies that are investing in the United States.

He also began new conversations with companies in China that had expressed interest in investing in the United States, but "these conversations were clouded a bit by the issues that are related to the trade war tariffs."

An annual business survey released Monday by the China General Chamber of Commerce-USA (CGCC) showed that Chinese companies doing business in the United States share the fear of a deteriorating business environment in the United States.

"This environment's uncertainty shakes our members' confidence and discourages them from making further investments in the US," said CGCC Chairman Xu Chen.

In response to those concerns, Pierson said Louisiana has always been a very international state in the United States and "we would want to message that we remain open for business."

"Certainly I do not see a scenario where there are any adverse feelings towards China," he said, eyeing a strong economic and cultural partnership between China and Louisiana going forward.

Chinese commerce is already a transformative force in Louisiana's economy, with extensive trade and recent cross-border investment linking the two more strongly than ever, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

Pierson said the state's agricultural economy has been hit by tariffs stemming from the US-China trade disputes and there has also been "noticeable negative financial impact" on the state's port system, as Louisiana served as a logistics hub for much of Middle America.

"We have been messaging to the Department of Commerce and our elected officials the importance of the conversations continuing so that the issues can be resolved between the US and China," he said.

Pierson hoped that the market pressures would ultimately bring diplomats and delegates of the two countries together to have important conversations to reach an agreement.

"The market forces of these two massive global markets are too important to both countries, and over time the pressures of the market... is going to drive some sensible decisions to be made by both countries," he said.

"There will be some successful negotiations where China and the US can establish win-win relationships," he added.

Pierson was also optimistic about the prospects of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Louisiana to China in the future as bilateral trade disputes are being worked out.

"We're certainly a state now that has very significant LNG export capacity... the opportunity to provide LNG to China would seem very attractive," he said.

The US LNG would help power the economy of China, reduce energy costs for Chinese companies and provide a better environment footprint, he noted.


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