Business / Economy

US 'welcomes investment from China'

By Cheng Guangjin in Beijing, Zhang Yuwei in New York and He Wei in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2012-10-31 08:11

The United States still welcomes Chinese investment that creates jobs in the country, a top US diplomat said on Tuesday, while referring to recent trade frictions involving some Chinese companies as "exceptions to the rule".

Gary Locke, US ambassador to China, made the remarks during a webcast of this year's China Town Hall in Beijing, organized by the New York-based National Committee on US-China Relations.

The event, occurring a week before the US presidential election, was held amid bilateral trade frictions resulting from the US government's rejection of investments by Chinese enterprises under the pretext of national security.

As the two countries are increasingly interdependent, it is inevitable that trade frictions will arise, analysts said, adding that cooperation is needed rather than confrontation, which hurts both sides.

According to AFP, Ralls Corporation, a company registered in the US and controlled by directors of an arm of Chinese engineering giant Sany, sued US President Barack Obama this month for blocking a wind farm project in Oregon.

AFP said it has also sued the Committee on Foreign Investment for barring the multimillion-dollar investment over what Obama described as national security concerns.

Earlier this month, Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE were put on the defensive when a US Congressional committee called them potential national security threats that should be barred from US contracts and acquisitions, AFP reported.

Edward Clarence-Smith, representative of the China office of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said it was "unfortunate" that China and the US got into this fight.

"While companies may tend to drop their prices when there is excessive capacity, I think there is also some kind of protectionism. There are such companies in the US and Europe that need to protect their positions and their markets," he told China Daily.

Clarence-Smith believes there are many political reasons behind the current tensions, and China, in its position, is making the right case.

Such cases have caused many, especially some Chinese investors, to worry about the investment environment in the US.

However, Locke said these cases are "exceptions to the rule". He emphasized that the US is still the most desired destination in the world and cited cases of Chinese investments in the country.

Locke said a Chinese company is opening a steel pipe manufacturing plant in Texas that will employ around 2,000 people.

"We welcome the same type of Chinese investments and the establishment of offices that will employ American workers because we want those jobs for the people of America," he said.

The protectionist measures encountered by Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE are highly "abnormal", said Long Yongtu, former vice-minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation.

The US Congress has politicized the business moves of Chinese companies to serve its own interest groups and political concerns, Long said. A White House review found no evidence that the two telecom firms, Huawei and ZTE, were spying for the Chinese government, indicating a severe split between US politicians.

"If the US regards Chinese companies as a negative factor, it will erode the mutually beneficial foundation of bilateral relations," Long said.

The New York-based research firm Rhodium Group estimated that Chinese investment in the US has reached $6.3 billion this year.

Locke said two-way trade between the nations is worth more than $1 billion in goods and services every day, in contrast to an annual bilateral trade of less than $100 million 40 years ago.

Today more than 700,000 US jobs depend on exports to China, Locke added.

The China-US relationship is the "defining relationship in the 21st century, and getting that relationship right is the key to peace and stability throughout the world", said Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations.

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