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US businesses want China cooperation

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-06-03 23:02

Despite tensions, local delegations continue exchange of ideas, opportunities

US business leaders are calling for continued cooperation with China at the local level despite the economic tensions between the two countries.

"It's important we continue a line of communication and partnership, because both countries have a lot to learn from each other. Collaborating and sharing knowledge between some of the most innovative parts of the world will benefit both countries and the rest of the world," said Nicholas Kaspar, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Santa Clara, California.

His city has recently received a delegation from China's Xuzhou on the mission of exploring collaboration opportunities in technology with Silicon Valley.

In the center of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is home to several world-class tech companies, including Intel, Applied Materials and Nvidia, and is the US headquarters of Huawei.

Besides "a significant number of Chinese companies", a lot of other companies from different parts of the world being in Silicon Valley helps the innovation of the region, said Kaspar. Embracing the diversity and "being able to leverage different resources" is the key to the success of Silicon Valley, he said.

Kaspar said the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China hasn't really impacted what they do.

"We still work with Chinese companies and delegations that come over here to share knowledge with each other," he said. "On a different level, what we are doing is trying to find the best answer to a lot of the problems. I think collaborating with each other helps that."

Two years ago, Xuzhou set up a science and technology exchange center inside the Zhongguancun Silicon Valley Innovation Center in Santa Clara to facilitate exchanges and cooperation between the Chinese city and Silicon Valley.

During the delegation's visit last week, the Xuzhou Silicon Valley Science and Technology Exchange Center signed a collaborative agreement with Bontera, a bio-fertilizer company that provides organic agriculture solutions.

"Our technique helps increase the amount of land that can't be farmed by allowing the nutrients in the soil, where normally nutrients can't get into the plant, to be absorbed by the roots of the plant," said Douglas Frisbie, a representative of Bontera, who signed the agreement with Xuzhou.

The beneficial soil microbes not only improve soil fertility and crop yield but also are free of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified organisms, thus meeting the increasing demand for organic food, he said.

The company is in the process of product registration in China and building a distribution network. It sees great potential in China as the world's largest agricultural economy, which is moving toward sustainable agriculture while striving to feed a population of 1.4 billion.

The global bio-fertilizer market was valued at $1.22 billion in 2017, and is projected to grow to $2.8 billion in 2023, according to Frisbie. With increasing pressure on global food production, the demand for fertilizers is expected to increase, which in turn would enhance the growth of this market, he said.

A frequent traveler to China, Frisbie said he was "overwhelmingly welcomed by business leaders and local governments" when he was there. In the US, he said it's been generally "very supportive" toward the US-China relationship.

He believes agriculture is another area in which the US and China can collaborate.

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