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Companies should ‘take a stand’ on benefits of commerce

By Zhong Nan,Liu Xuan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-08 04:06

Craig Allen

United States companies should speak out about the importance of the Chinese market and US-China cooperation as trade tensions have hurt almost every large US corporation and could even drive small firms out of business, the president of US-China Business Council said on Wednesday.

Craig Allen, head of the Washington-based council, said for almost every large US company, China is important. But right now, people are quite reluctant to talk about that, given the current tension, he said.

“It is the time to take a stand and to iterate that US-China cooperation on economic matters and trade and investment is good for both of our countries,” he said in an exclusive interview with China Daily during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call last week to meet during the upcoming G20 summit in Argentina, which Allen called the most important bilateral meeting during the G20.

“Currently, tensions between China and the US are very high. There has been a series of tariffs and counter-tariffs, which has dramatically affected not only trade but also global financial stability,” said Allen, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary for China at the US Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Allen said the disputes have forced many companies that rely greatly on trade to adjust their supply chains.

“For a large company, that is less difficult to manage. But for small and medium-sized companies that may be impossible, which may drive them out of the business,” he said. “Only by solving the current trade issues can both China and the US move on to a constructive agenda.”

Matt Tsien, president of General Motors China, said globalization and open trade are “absolutely an unstoppable trend”.

“When it comes to the auto industry, supply chains are very global, highly integrated and highly dependent on scale. So the very nature of our industry and many other industries is that globalization provides ultimately the best benefits for everyone,” Tsien said.

Robert Aspell, president for Asia-Pacific of US agricultural conglomerate Cargill Inc, said the best way to solve trade issues is to talk to each other, communicating to find solutions.

“As a large number of global companies have participated in the first CIIE, it is a clear signal that China is going to further open its markets, and many opportunities can be found in different sectors in the country,” Aspell said.

Contact the writers at liuxuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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