China welcomes US firms to expand investment, official says amid rising positive signs
Published: Oct 18, 2021 09:08 PM
China US Photo:GT

China US Photo:GT

China welcomes US companies to expand investment in China and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, a senior Chinese official said on Monday, adding to growing positive signs for potential improvement in China-US trade ties and implementation of the China-US phase one trade agreement.

Xiao Yaqing, minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, made the remarks during a virtual meeting with a delegation led by Tom Linebarger, chairman of the US-China Business Council. Xiao noted that Chinese and US companies are interdependent in the global supply chain.

"It is hoped that US companies will continue to strengthen cooperation with Chinese industries in areas such as new-energy vehicles, biomedicine and next-generation information and communications, and jointly promote a green and low-carbon industrial transformation to achieve win-win development," Xiao said.

Xiao's remarks came amid growing signs of increased willingness from both China and the US in addressing certain trade issues and moving forward with the phase one trade agreement, which is set to be completed next year. 

Following US officials' proposal of "recoupling" with China and talks between senior officials, there have been several positive developments in bilateral trade ties and the implementation of the phase one deal, which covers expanded market access and increased Chinese imports of US agricultural and energy products.

In a fresh sign of China's continued financial opening, US investment bank Goldman Sachs received approval from China's securities regulator on Sunday to take full ownership of a securities joint venture in China, which would be the second wholly foreign-owned brokerage. The first such approval was granted to another US investment bank, JPMorgan, in August.

Meanwhile, Chinese energy companies are reportedly in discussions with US companies on long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply contracts.

Increasing energy imports from the US is part of the phase one deal, under which China's imports of US energy products, including LNG, crude oil, refined products and coal, would be increased by $52.4 billion over two years on top of the 2017 baseline. 

The reported plans, if materialize, would be major development in bilateral energy trade, given the fact that China's imports of US energy products, particularly LNG, plummeted before the signing of the phase one deal, a senior analyst at Pacific Securities told the Global Times on Monday.

After the phase one deal was signed, the first cargo of US LNG arrived in North China's Tianjin in April 2020 and in 2020, the US became China's sixth-largest LNG supplier, the analyst said.

In 2020, China imported 3.217 million tons of LNG from the US, according to statistics from Chinese customs. But imports in the first eight months of 2021 skyrocketed 375 percent year-on-year to 5.4 million tons.

Photo shows the Jiangsu LNG Project of China National Petroleum Corporation at Yangkou Port, East China's Jiangsu Province. Photo: VCG

Photo shows the Jiangsu LNG Project of China National Petroleum Corporation at Yangkou Port, East China's Jiangsu Province. Photo: VCG

In light of recent positive signs, there is still room for China-US cooperation in a wide range of areas, despite the trade and technology war waged by the US, Wang Peng, an assistant professor at the Gaoling School of Artificial Intelligence at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Monday.

While disputes in a wide range of areas will continue to pose challenges for China-US relations, there is also growing willingness on both sides to address certain trade issues, analysts noted.

"In the foreseeable future, there will still be disputes over many issues, such as human rights and the high-tech industry. But at least for now, some interest groups in the US are still showing some goodwill in some areas," Wang said.