SHANGHAI - Although opinions are divided on open markets and trading barriers, the United States and China can achieve a win-win relationship in areas like clean energy, said US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke in a speech to American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai on Wednesday.
Locke is in China this week on the first cabinet-level trade mission of the Obama administration. The visit comes shortly after President Barack Obama outlined details of his National Export Initiative, which aims to double US exports within five years to support job growth.
"Worldwide, energy is a $6 trillion market. And the fastest-growing sector is of the cleaner, greener kind." Locke said. "A growing clean energy partnership between China and the United States could help put millions of both our peoples to work in high-skill, high-wage jobs."
Immediate and resolute action must be undertaken and ambitious clean energy adoption goals must be set by both governments, he added.
"President Obama has signed a Recovery Act that included $80 billion in clean energy investments," said Locke, "and when you look at China you see a country that has adopted the most aggressive energy efficiency program in the entire world."
With Locke were representatives from 24 American clean energy companies on a business development trade mission promoting exports related to clean energy, energy efficiency, and electric energy storage, transmission and distribution.
One project underway in Shanghai with the help of a US company is the 128-story "green" Shanghai Tower. Designed by Gensler, a San Francisco firm that specializes in green buildings, the Tower is on course to be registered for a building certification level from the US Green Building Council and the China Green Building Committee.
However, there are still issues to be settled to assure fair cooperation, such as the export license policy in the US which restricts the export of products with "sensitive technologies" to China, and China's new indigenous innovation accreditation system which the US sees as a significantly disadvantage for foreign companies bidding for Chinese contracts.
"But in many areas, and especially in clean energy, the interests of China and the United States are tied together." Locke said, "And reforms are good for both sides.
One example of collaboration Locke gave was protection of intellectual property. As China's companies increasingly move up the economic value chain from low-cost manufacturing to higher value-added research and development, they too will count on protection for their innovations, he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Locke paid a visit to the US Pavilion at Expo 2010 Shanghai.
"Seeing the US Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, and Gensler's work in designing the Shanghai Tower, gave us a glimpse of the future of clean energy and how US and Chinese companies are working together to make that future a reality," Locke said.
The delegation will head to Beijing next Thursday and attend the annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.