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Speech by Consul General Zhang Ping at CGCC Event "China-US Dialogue: The Way Forward and Screening of 'Better Angels'"

It gives me great pleasure to attend today’s China-US Dialogue: The Path Forward & Screening of Better Angels. I want to thank the China General Chamber of Commerce-USA(CGCC) for organizing this event. I also want to congratulate on the release of 2018 Annual Business Survey Report: Chinese Enterprises in the United States and the premiere of “Better Angels”, which, in the current situation, is particularly meaningful for us to understand the mutually beneficial nature of China-US economic and trade relations as well as the importance of fostering close bonds between our two peoples.

As we know, China-US relations are encountering some difficulties at the moment. The current trade friction is causing negative impact on the normal trade dealings between our two countries and has brought uncertainties to our bilateral trade and investment relationship as well as the prospect of our respective economies. Amidst the various assertions about strategic rivalry, the harsh rhetoric of economic disengagement, and possible actions on further tariff hikes and restriction on Chinese investment and personnel exchanges on the part of the US side make us wonder where China-US relationship is heading to. Where is the path forward? This is the question that concerns both our business communities as well as our two peoples at large.

To answer this question, I think both the CGCC survey and the documentary “Better Angeles” can help to shed some light.

I think the path forward lies in the strength of China-US economic and trade relations. Thanks to the efforts of our two business communities, China and the United States now have a $700 billion bilateral trade both in goods and services and a two-way investment of $230 billion. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, by last year, the accumulated Chinese direct investment to the US stands at $67 billion. Chinese investments in the US generate value for the US economy, increase exports to China, and directly and indirectly support millions of jobs throughout the country. As indicated by CGCC survey, CGCC members employ an estimated 200,000 people in the US. In 2017, nearly 60% of Chinese companies under survey have increased their workforce and another 60% expect to increase their staff size in the next two years. Among those anticipating staff growth, two-thirds anticipate an increase of 10% or more. More than 70% of companies owned by CGCC members have established robust corporate social responsibility programs which not only support the working families, but also the local communities. History and current reality show that China-US economic and trade relations have brought enormous benefits to our two countries and peoples. The mutually beneficial nature of our economic and trade ties connects us closer together and provides the strength that will sustain us through the current difficulties.

The path forward lies in the commitment of our business community to building a lasting cooperation based on win-win results. I am pleased to note that according to CGCC survey, despite escalating trade friction between China and the US, including the fear of an all-out trade war, Chinese enterprises are committed to long-term goals in supporting growth in the US. A considerable number of respondents are optimistic about the US commercial environment over the next three years. This adds up our confidence in working out the current impasse of our trade relationship.

The path forward lies in the right approach in handling our differences. China is the world’s biggest developing country and the United States is the biggest developed country. It is only natural that our two countries have differences and even frictions as our economic and trade ties grow closer. It is noteworthy that both the Chinese and the US business communities all have concerns and complaints over each other’s business environment. However, both our business communities see the value of each other’s markets and wish to expand their business operation there. This provides the common ground for our two countries to work out measure to improve our respective business environment and address the differences in bilateral economic and trade relations.

As two responsible major countries, we should solve the current trade friction through dialogue rather than confrontation. We should take a constructive approach to manage differences rather than blame each other. There are over 90 official dialogue and consultation mechanisms between China the US. So long as we have the good will and good faith and proceed from the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefits, any issues, concerns and differences can be addressed and solved through bilateral consultations or within a commonly recognized multilateral framework.

We are encouraged by the recent phone conversation between President Xi and President Trump in which the two leaders agreed to work for new progress based on healthy and stable development of relations and we look forward to the positive outcomes to be achieved from the upcoming meeting between the two leaders on the sideline of the G20 summit.

The path forward lies in the friendship and mutual trust between the two peoples. "Better Angel" tells touching stories of how ordinary people of two countries aspire for a better relationship and a better world by contributing in their own way to the understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples. We firmly believe it is the people to people connection that constitutes the foundation of our bilateral relationship. It is the people of our two countries who are the better angels that hold our relations together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. As we look back at the four decade long development of our relations, we have found that sub national exchange and cooperation also played a very important role in moving forward the overall bilateral relationship.

At this time of uncertainty, it is important that we make concerted efforts to keep the momentum of sub national exchange and cooperation alive. Since 2012, 25 Chinese provinces and cities have established "Joint Working Groups on Trade and Investment Cooperation " with 7 U.S. states and cities, including the states of California, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Washington, New York, and the city of Chicago. We should make better use of all existing sub-national mechanisms to bring into full play their roles in promoting exchange and cooperation. We hope by enhancing coordination and consultation under these mechanisms, we could help the local governments and business communities on both sides to identify cooperation priorities, work out long term plan and bring in more resources to the cooperation projects.

After nearly four decades of development, China-US relations have achieved great progress and entered into a stage where our interests are closely connected and intertwined. What we have achieved does not come easily. These concrete results are real benefits to our people that need to be cherished. Today, we live in a world of extensive, profound and complex changes. Economic globalization is the trend of the times, and peace and development represent the shared aspiration of all peoples.

China will continue its reform and opening-up policy and adhere to the opening strategy of win-win cooperation. China will continue to significantly expand market access, strengthen IPR protection, and do more to increase imports. We will better align with international economic and trade rules, further streamline administrative approval procedures, exercise fair and impartial regulation, and create a business environment in which all companies, be they Chinese and foreign-owned, are treated as equals and compete on a level playing field.

We sincerely hope our two countries can rise above the old ideas, open up new horizons and build a more robust and mature relationship as it enters into the next 40 decades, and our two business communities will take more measures to promote cooperation of win-win results for the benefit of the two peoples and economic growth and prosperity of our two coutries.

Many of you present today have witnessed the growth of China-US relations and made your contribution to it. I wish to thank you for that. I hope to get your continued support and look forward to working with you to further promote China-US relations to achieve long-term stable and healthy development.

Thank you very much.

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