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US business leader highlights "long-term view" in US-China ties

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-10-15 15:26
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The vast majority of US companies report that their China operations are profitable, and they remain committed to the Chinese market. [Photo/IC]

WASHINGTON - Despite the ongoing US-China trade tensions, American companies do not wish to leave China but want to grow with China, said president of US-China Business Council (USCBC), highlighting a "long-term view" in bilateral relations.

"When you're talking about the two largest countries in the world, a transactional view is, in my view, inappropriate and unhelpful," Craig Allen told Xinhua in a recent interview at the USCBC headquarters here. "We need to look at this more as joint venture partners.

The vast majority of US companies report that their China operations are profitable, and they remain committed to the Chinese market notwithstanding the current trade tensions and worsening business environment, according to a recent survey conducted by the nonprofit group, which boasts about 220 US companies as its members.

"Nothing has fundamentally changed" since the survey was done in June, Allen told Xinhua.

"We want to expand in China. We want to contribute to China. We want continued collaboration in science and technology," the USCBC president said, adding that American companies hope China will continue to expand market access.

In their new round of high-level economic and trade consultations in Washington last week, China and the United States achieved substantial progress in areas including agriculture, intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, exchange rates, financial services, expansion of trade cooperation, technology transfers and mechanisms for dispute settlement.

Allen said he remains optimistic that the Unites States and China will eventually reach a trade agreement. "Both countries realize that this (trade war) had a negative impact. So that's a good starting point for the agreement," he said.

The USCBC president pointed out that the additional tariffs as a result of the US-China trade tensions are beginning to be felt at the consumer goods level in the United States, as the prices of sporting goods, among others, have gone up just recently. "I think political Washington knows that very well and doesn't want to see that," he said.

Allen also said the two countries, as the world's two largest economies, have "joint responsibilities" for the global economy and global institutions, and thus "we should manage those (differences) in a prudent manner."

"I hope that we do move forward, realizing that, the perfect can be the enemy of the good," he said. "To demand the perfect (deal) is a poor choice."

Looking ahead, Allen said, "we need continued expert-to-expert dialogue," referring to experts in various areas both on the economic side and on the regulatory side.

"These discussions have been mostly at the political level and I think that's helpful that this is a top-down process, but you need the bottom-up (process) as well," said the US business leader.

"Our experts should be talking to each other every day," said Allen, who served as commercial attache at the US Embassy in Beijing in the 1990s and later as deputy assistant secretary for China at the US Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration.

Commenting on the "decoupling" rhetoric, Allen said technology cooperation between the United States and China, both leaders in global innovation, has produced "magnificent returns" over the last 40 years, and "we both have a lot to lose if we can't get this right."

Allen noted a "tendency to exaggerate the national security threat," saying that people should be "realistic, sober and very cautious" about what is a national security threat.

"We need tall walls around a little garden and we don't need a tripwire around the whole farm," he said.

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