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US benefits from prosperity of Chinese businesses: Dow CEO Andrew Liveris

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-16 11:04

CHICAGO - The United States and China have become important partners in trade and many other areas, "success for one means opportunity for the other," said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris.

"Most importantly, the US benefits when the Chinese people thrive - for they provide not only an important market for American products, but also an enormous talent base that will help drive humanity forward," Liveris said in an interview with Xinhua recently.

"It is in everyone's interest to promote a constructive engagement between China and the US that focuses on removing the barriers to fair and reciprocal market access in each other's economies." It is the relationship between China and the United States which Liveris said he has hoped for.

Established in 1897, the Dow Chemical Company did not become an electrochemical pioneer in one day. In the process of growing from a one-product start-up into an innovation powerhouse, Dow has continuously reinvented and transformed itself for the opportunities of each era.

Dow realized a sales volume of $48 billion in 2016, ranking in the 187th place among the world's top 500 companies.

Dow entered China in the 1930s.

Liveris made his first trip to China 40 years ago for one of his first jobs at Dow. Now he travels to China several times a year.

"I was lucky to have a front-row seat thirty years ago when Deng Xiaoping opened China to the world. And in the decades since, I have had the privilege of watching - and even better, participating - as China's rise has transformed not only China, but the rest of the global economy," Liveris told Xinhua.

"I am not exaggerating when I say that China surprises me every time I return. China has tremendous business assets and extremely talented and innovation-minded people that are enabling the vast growth it has seen in recent decades," he said.

Liveris is right in his words: China now presents the second largest overseas market for Dow, with sales volume growing 10 percent in 2016 from 2015.

Talking of China's economic transition, Liveris said China's adjusted 6.5-percent GDP growth rate for the next five years reflects the Chinese government's determination to improve the quality of growth as well as to ensure a sustainable growth.

He sees the Chinese Government's calling for a higher level of technology and innovation, industrial upgrading, and environmental protection in the transition period as more opportunities to the world's industry leaders like Dow.

"We have chosen to be part of this transformation and are committed to support China with innovation," Liveris said.

"We are optimistic about our business growth in China." By saying so, Liveris has in mind an area where Dow and other multinational companies can play an important role in China: sustainability.

Dow has already teamed up with the Chinese government and Chinese companies to develop and distribute sustainable products such as paint that removes formaldehyde from the air; high-performance insulation that reduces the energy it takes to heat and cool a building; and new laundry machine technology that removes 99 percent of common bacteria and dirt and reduces water consumption by nearly a third.

Many of Dow's specialty and performance materials address the needs of China's market and priorities, Liveris said. In 2016, Dow's packaging, polyurethanes, water, automotive systems, building and construction businesses all achieved strong double-digit growth in China.

Liveris pins high hope on China's Belt and Road Initiative, saying Dow sees a number of opportunities stemming from the initiative, including opportunities to expand into less developed regions within China.

The China-proposed initiative was founded on the vision of common development and sustainable growth, he said. "I admire the goal in the pursuit of mutual benefits through cooperation."

"We are doing business in China in a long-term view - strengthening our local innovation, manufacturing and service networks so as to be better positioned to serve the China market with our solution offerings," Liveris said.

He also pointed out that both US and China should identify the major impediments for trade, such as investment restrictions and inefficient regulatory practices.

If the US and China can achieve a few tangible wins early for both US and Chinese economies, they can then "focus on the longer-term structural impediments that artificially constrain more trade cooperation." "Success breeds success," Liveris said.

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