Calls for cooperation between China and US grow at high-level platform in Beijing
Senior officials welcome investment, urge Washington to abandon zero-sum mentality
Published: Mar 26, 2023 10:39 PM
Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc, speaks during China Development Forum (CDF) 2023 on March 25, 2023,in Beijing, China. Photo:VCG

Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer Inc, speaks during China Development Forum (CDF) 2023 on March 25, 2023, in Beijing, China. Photo:VCG

While the US has intensified crackdowns on Chinese companies, business representatives from the US called for increased cooperation between the world's two largest economies at the China Development Forum (CDF) 2023, a high-level dialogue platform held in Beijing from Saturday to Monday.

Warmly welcomed by both Chinese officials and netizens, the US business representatives expressed their enthusiasm over returning to China as many are making their first visits after the epidemic, and they hope to seek new growth drivers and use the market potential that's unique to the world's second-largest economy.

"I'm thrilled to be back in China," Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a panel discussion, marking his first visit to China since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Every time I come to China, I learn stuff, I take something back with me. It's primarily about the culture."

Photo: A screenshot of Tim Cook's Sina Weibo on March 24, 2023.

Photo: A screenshot of Tim Cook's Sina Weibo on March 24, 2023.

Apart from Cook, prominent US business leaders and elites such as billionaire investor Ray Dalio, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, and Jon Moeller, CEO of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, attended the event.

Jeffrey D. Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, said that the forum is crucial during "a point of tensions," and he is glad that business leaders were coming together.

"Unfortunately, the US is escalating the trade war, by trying to limit China's access to advanced technologies and by trying to undermine China's leading technology companies such as Huawei, ZTE, and even TikTok. I don't think that the US strategy is working. China will be able to innovate around the US barriers," Sachs told the Global Times on the sidelines of the CDF on Sunday.

"I hope that they go back to the US and tell the US government: Calm down; we want to make peace, cooperation and business; we don't want conflict," Sachs said.

The US has intensified crackdown on Chinese firms and stepped up pressure on its allies and other countries to join its containment of China. 

In the latest example, the US government has repeatedly threatened to ban TikTok, a mobile app owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, and even force the firm to be sold to US buyers. Also, during US President Joe Biden's visit to Canada from Thursday to Friday, the two sides repeatedly hyped China-related issues.

"It is hoped that the US will abandon its zero-sum mentality, stop using unscrupulous means to contain and suppress China, and work with China to push China-US relations to overcome current difficulties and return to a healthy and stable track," Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang said as he welcomed these US business representatives to Beijing on Saturday.

Qin told them that China's attitude toward the development of a healthy, stable and constructive China-US relationship has not changed. It has always advocated mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between China and the US, he said.

In spite of the US government's litany of attempts to undermine bilateral ties, business cooperation is growing, especially by US businesses' operations in China.

"Despite challenges, cooperation between American companies and their Chinese counterparts is extremely resilient," Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC), told a panel at the CDF.

US exports to China reached record highs in 2022, and China remains a crucial destination for US agriculture, food, chemicals and other commodities, he said, adding that USCBC data suggest that about 1 million Americans are employed as a result of exports to China.