Com­pa­nies should ‘take a stand’ on ben­e­fits of com­merce

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By LIU XUAN and ZHONG NAN in Shang­hai

United States com­pa­nies should speak out about the im­por­tance of the Chi­nese mar­ket and US-China co­op­er­a­tion as trade ten­sions have hurt al­most ev­ery large US cor­po­ra­tion and could even drive small firms out of busi­ness, the pres­i­dent of US-China Busi­ness Coun­cil said on Wed­nes­day.

Craig Allen, head of the Wash­ing­ton-based coun­cil, said for al­most ev­ery large US com­pany, China is im­por­tant. But right now, peo­ple are quite re­luc­tant to talk about that, given the cur­rent ten­sion, he said.

“It is the time to take a stand and to it­er­ate that US-China co­op­er­a­tion on eco­nomic mat­ters and trade and in­vest­ment is good for both of our coun­tries,” he said in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with China Daily dur­ing the first China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo in Shang­hai.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump agreed in a phone call last week to meet dur­ing the up­com­ing G20 sum­mit in Ar­gentina, which Allen called the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral meet­ing dur­ing the G20.

“Cur­rently, ten­sions be­tween China and the US are very high. There has been a series of tar­iffs and counter-tar­iffs, which has dra­mat­i­cally af­fected not only trade but also global fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity,” said Allen, who pre­vi­ously served as deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for China at the US De­part­ment of Com­merce’s In­ter­na­tional Trade Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Allen said the dis­putes have forced many com­pa­nies that rely greatly on trade to ad­just their sup­ply chains.

“For a large com­pany, that is less dif­fi­cult to man­age. But for small and medium-sized com­pa­nies that may be im­pos­si­ble, which may drive them out of the busi­ness,” he said. “Only by solv­ing the cur­rent trade is­sues can both China and the US move on to a con­struc­tive agenda.”

Matt Tsien, pres­i­dent of Gen­eral Mo­tors China, said glob­al­iza­tion and open trade are “ab­so­lutely an un­stop­pable trend”.

“When it comes to the auto in­dus­try, sup­ply chains are very global, highly in­te­grated and highly de­pen­dent on scale. So the very na­ture of our in­dus­try and many other in­dus­tries is that glob­al­iza­tion pro­vides ul­ti­mately the best ben­e­fits for ev­ery­one,” Tsien said.

Robert Aspell, pres­i­dent for Asia-Pa­cific of US agri­cul­tural con­glom­er­ate Cargill Inc, said the best way to solve trade is­sues is to talk to each other, com­mu­ni­cat­ing to find so­lu­tions.

“As a large num­ber of global com­pa­nies have par­tic­i­pated in the first CIIE, it is a clear sig­nal that China is go­ing to fur­ther open its mar­kets, and many op­por­tu­ni­ties can be found in dif­fer­ent sec­tors in the coun­try,” Aspell said.

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Craig Allen

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