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Chamber says door open for investors

By He Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-08 07:38

US businesses in China think trade between Washington and Beijing "creates benefits for all" and that the US government and people remain open to Chinese investment, said Kenneth Jarrett, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

He added that a trade war would harm both countries given the interdependence of the US and Chinese economies.

"No one wants to see a trade war. ... It would be damaging for US workers, US consumers, US companies and US investors, and would also be damaging to China," he said.

While the change of administration has created a sense of uncertainty for companies, Jarrett said the US business community in China will first wait to see how much of President Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric will become reality before taking action.

Chinese outbound direct investment to the US soared to $45.6 billion last year, according to consultancy Rhodium Group, three times that of 2015. But growing scrutiny over Chinese investors has led to more failed buyout attempts, with Washington citing "national security concerns".

"To the extent that Chinese investment creates jobs for Americans, I am confident that it will remain welcome by the US government and the American people," Jarrett said.

Jarrett said most of the chamber's member companies with factories in China are here to stay because they want to sell in China and stay close to their customers rather than export products.

"While the rapid increase in Chinese exports does add a certain volatility to the US labor market, the solution to this situation is not protectionism. Rather, the US government should do more to provide training programs and assistance to workers in industries in decline or to those who have lost jobs because of technological change or change in consumer demand," he said.

Of the talks between President Xi Jinping and Trump, Jarrett said, "The most important result would be for the two presidents to develop a personal rapport so that they can understand each other's priorities and develop a basis for mutual trust."

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