An upcoming meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump will inject confidence into the bilateral relationship, according to US and Chinese officials and business leaders.
Nina Easton, co-chair of the Fortune Global Forum, said the summit underscores the important relationship between the United States and China now and for a productive and healthy future.
“This upcoming summit also confirms just how timely our plans are to host the next Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou (Dec 6-8),” she told a meeting on Tuesday afternoon in Washington, where a Guangzhou delegation was putting on a road show for the upcoming forum in the capital city of South China’s Guangdong province.
“I do know the fact that the Chinese leader’s coming to the United States, that’s a very positive note, particularly given President Trump’s positions on China and other places,” said Dan Glickman, a former US secretary of agriculture and a Democratic congressman. “I think that will be helpful.”
While many in the US blame China and Mexico for job losses, Glickman stressed that changes in the job market were brought about by multiple factors such as technology and education.
Tian Deyou, economic and commercial minister counselor at the Chinese embassy, said that a trade war should not be an option. “Cooperation and win-win should be the goal that China and the United States strive for,” he said.
Karan Bhatia, vice-president of global affairs for General Electric, also called the upcoming meeting between Xi and Trump “really, really important” for the trade relationship between the two countries.
At the delegation’s road show in New York on Monday, FedEx CEO and Chairman Fred Smith expressed his disagreement with those who believe that global markets and trade have been bad for the US.
“Trade is an essential part of the US economic landscape,” he said. “The US tried anti trade once with Smoot-Hawley (enacted in 1930 to raise tariffs to protect American business). Lots of scholars now think it may have led to the Great Depression.”
Smith said that he is keenly aware of what the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US has done to communities.
“Manufacturing employment has been going down everywhere, and automation and technology took most of the jobs,” he said.
FedEx, which has a huge facility in Guangzhou and operations in other parts of China, has been on the Chinese mainland for many years.
Guangzhou Vice-Mayor Cai Chaolin said that his city has been a beneficiary of
international commerce, noting that 288 of the Fortune 500 companies have investments in Guangzhou. “We keep an open mind, and we believe that action speaks louder than words,” he said.
Cai said Guangzhou remains an important gateway to South China and “is a city of connectivity”. The area’s gross domestic product is about $290 billion, due in part to the region’s modern transportation network of rail lines, airports and port operations.
Five times Guangzhou has topped the Forbes list of best cities for business in China, Cai said.
His words were backed up on Tuesday by Hank Levine, a senior adviser at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a former US deputy assistant secretary of commerce.
Levine, who also worked in China for many years as a US diplomat, touted Guangzhou as a leader in China’s reform and opening-up drive in the early 1980s and early 1990s. “And it continues today,” he said.
Levine cited the survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China that shows 80 percent of the US companies there said the investment and business climate was either good or very good. And 60 percent of the US companies there had chosen to make their headquarters in Guangzhou.
Bhatia also promoted the efficiency of Guangzhou, citing the example of a GE industrial facility there being completed in 18 months.
Guangzhou also unveiled its two representative offices in Boston and Silicon Valley.