Strengthening China-U.S. talks to provide more opportunities for Chinese firms

2015-06-23 09:44Xinhua Editor: Gu Liping

As witnesses and contributors to the booming China-U.S. bilateral trade and investment, Chinese companies expect exchanges between high-level officials from both countries, such as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), would further provide more and broader opportunities for companies from both countries.

Bank of China (BOC) USA is one of the Chinese companies which benefited from the close economic and commercial exchanges between the two countries. With more than 30 years of operation, the bank now is the 12th largest foreign bank in the United States.

Xu Chen, president and CEO of the BOC USA, told Xinhua that the bank's expansion in the United States was closely connected to the continuous rising of the bilateral trade and investment. According to Xu, 70 percent of BOC USA clients are local companies, most of which have business exchanges with Chinese counterparts.

In 2014, bilateral trade value exceeded 550 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 6.6 percent from a year ago, data from the China's Ministry of Commerce showed.

In addition to the booming trade, more and more Chinese companies are investing in the United States, which the BOC sees as important opportunities for the bank's expansion, said Xu.

Over the past six years, direct investment from Chinese companies to the United States has increased fivefold, creating more than 80,000 jobs in the country. Chinese investments in the U. S. now total nearly 50 billion and will increase to between 100 billion dollars and 200 billion dollars by 2020, creating between 200,000 and 400,000 jobs for U.S. workers, a recent study by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and Rhodium Group found.

The auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang America set foot on the U. S. market 30 years ago and now has 28 manufacturing factories and over 12,000 employees in the United States.

Ni Pin, president of Wanxiang America, told Xinhua that it's the right time for Chinese companies to invest in the country, because local and state governments are taking great efforts to attract foreign investment, especially those from China.

In order to ensure and boost stable economic exchanges, dialogues and communications between senior officials from both countries are considered as important as those between companies.

According to Xu, the development of Chinese financial institutions has been far behind their U.S. counterparts' operation in China, although Chinese companies have competitive abilities in terms of product designs, management and IT support, compared to U.S. banks.

One of the reasons for the slow development is that the U.S. regulators and lawmakers have no thorough understanding of China's financial sector, and still hold biased views toward Chinese financial companies, said Xu.

The S&ED could help officials from both sides carry out frequent and in-depth communications and exchanges so as to boost bilateral understandings and to help create favorable regulatory and business climate for companies from both sides, said Xu. Chinese regulators should invite their U.S. counterparts to visit China more often, suggested Xu.

The seventh China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) will be kicked off on June 23 in Washington DC, with the economic dialogue focusing on in-depth discussions on macro-economic policy and restructuring, promoting trade and investment, and stabilizing and reforming the financial market, including on the exchange of " negative lists" on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT). The negative lists outline sectors that are closed to investors.

If the talks could help ease trade frictions in areas such as solar energy and steel, it will be a boost to shipping companies, like COSCO, said Zhang Xiaolan, general manager of the COSCO Americas.

In addition, if the United States relaxes its restrictions on high-tech exports to China, shipping companies could see their costs reduced as U.S. exports to China will definitely increase, Zhang told Xinhua. Now, containers shipped from Asian region to the United States are much more than those from the United States to Asia, especially China, according to the manager.

As for the ongoing BIT talks, Ni said the negotiation process is way more important than the result. Because both countries have many different social and economic structures, the talks could help both sides to get better understanding of each other.

As long as the talks and communications can move forward, there is a great chance that bilateral trade and investment will continue booming, said Ni.

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