China’s Commerce Minister reassures US firms ahead of talks; Washington urged to show sincerity
Move shows China’s openness; Washington must show sincerity: experts
Published: May 22, 2023 08:42 PM
The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Photo: VCG

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) Photo: VCG

China will continue to welcome US companies to develop in China and achieve win-win results based on mutual respect and benefit, Wang Wentao, China's commerce minister, said at a symposium with representatives from several US companies on Monday. 

The meeting with US business representatives highlighted China's continued effort in opening-up and actively promoting trade relations with the US ahead of planned meetings between senior Chinese and US trade officials, experts said, urging the US to show sincerity and correct policies targeting China for better cooperation.

Wang made the remarks at a symposium about the operation of US companies in China and suggestions on optimizing China's business environment. The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai and representatives from Johnson & Johnson, 3M, Dow, Merck, Honeywell and other US companies attended the meeting.

Wang said that the economic and trade cooperation between China and the US on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit are in line with the fundamental interests of the two countries and the two peoples as well as the whole world.

"China will continue to welcome US-funded companies to develop in China and achieve win-win results," Wang said.

During the meeting, Wang also reiterated China's effort for opening-up. He noted that China's unswervingly push for high-level opening-up and positive momentum of its economic recovery will provide more opportunities for foreign companies, including those from the US, to develop in China.

Despite so-called decoupling and de-risking calls made by some Western officials, foreign investments continue to pour into China, thanks to the massive opportunities the Chinese market offers. Foreign direct investment into China in the first four months of 2023 reached 499.46 billion yuan ($71.34 billion), up 2.2 percent year-on-year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed, indicating that the world's second-largest economy remains a popular destination for global investors.

Representatives of US-funded enterprises attending the meeting said they are optimistic about the prospects of the development of the Chinese market and are willing to further explore the Chinese market.

Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, told the Global Times that the meeting has created a good atmosphere for the planned meetings between senior Chinese and US trade officials.

"The communication is conductive to seeking common grounds for cooperation for the official talks," Bai said.

The Chinese embassy in Washington said Wang will meet with US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in Washington and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meeting in Detroit, according to Reuters on Thursday.

Liu Pengyu, the Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington, said that Beijing is open to communication at all levels with the US but only on the basis of mutual respect, Reuters said.

He Weiwen, a senior fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, also highlighted the significance of promoting conversation and cooperation with US enterprises amid the tense US-China relations, noting that China has been actively promoting the stabilization and easing of bilateral relations, of which economic and trade relations remain the ballast stone.

"Further connecting with US enterprises will help facilitate and promote the upcoming meetings," He told the Global Times on Monday, adding that US multinational companies play a buffer role in the US' containing on China.

The meetings will have a positive effect on stabilizing the economic and trade relations between China and the US and promoting continued development, He said.

However, experts stressed that the main obstacles to the current China-US relationship are on the political side, as the US continues to push for a "decoupling" with restrictions on trade and investment, even though US officials claim they are not seeking a "decoupling."

Such policies targeting China, which were formed on so-called national security concerns and are aimed at suppressing China, have a fundamentally wrong direction, and the US needs to make a correction for a better cooperation environment, He said.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs, bilateral trade in the first quarter of this year was $161.59 billion, a year-on-year decrease of 13.1 percent.