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US states forge closer trade ties with China

By LIA ZHU in Las Vegas | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-01-15 09:59


Officials highlight significant benefits, promote more stable, prosperous future

Several US states, driven by pragmatism and economic interests, are actively forging partnerships with Chinese companies, particularly in sectors such as technology and clean energy.

By nurturing the win-win partnerships, which are fueled by strong trade ties and cultural connections, both sides can not only reap economic benefits but also contribute to a more stable and prosperous future, officials from the states of Washington, California and Nevada said at a forum in Las Vegas last week.

Washington state's thriving tech sector, with more than 18,000 information and communications technology companies and nearly 360,000 people employed in tech-related fields, presents a natural draw for Chinese companies seeking partnerships in innovation, Mike Fong, director of the Washington State Commerce Department, said at the forum hosted by the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco during the Consumer Electronics Show global tech event.

"Tech workers make up nearly 10 percent of Washington's workforce. New ideas are shared rapidly within the ICT (information and communications technology) sector and across other sectors such as aerospace, life science, advanced manufacturing and clean tech, which rely on software and hardware to drive innovation and ultimately profit $138.7 billion annually," he said.

The state's tech sector accounts for 21.8 percent of its economy, the highest percentage in the US, and 57 percent of all services exported by Washington state are in technology-related fields, Fong said.

He also highlighted "fantastic new opportunities on the horizon" as both countries are investing in clean technology and renewable energy.

"The US and China are the top two countries for renewable energy installation," Fong said.

"In November, we welcomed a large Chinese delegation and discussed collaborating on new opportunities between our state and China with the focus on clean technology.

"I hope we can continue in the spirit of collaboration and idea-sharing that has marked the past 40 years in China-Washington state trade and business opportunity," Fong said.

Economic bonds

California's geographic proximity, robust Chinese American community and deep trade history further strengthen its economic bonds with China, Emily Desai, deputy director of international affairs and trade at the California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development, told the audience, mostly Chinese companies attending the CES.

In 2022, China was California's top trade partner with two-way trade amounting to more than $165 billion. Of that, California's exports to China were $18 billion, which makes China the third-largest export market for California, after Mexico and Canada.

The state's deep-water ports serve as vital gateways for US-China trade, with 40 percent of all containerized goods entering the US through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, Desai said, adding that cultural ties are equally important as these personal connections foster mutual understanding and pave the way for continued collaboration.

Similarly, clean technology would be a catalyst for collaboration between California and China.

In October, California Governor Gavin Newsom led a mission to China to advance the mutual work for implementing an array of climate-related agreements.

The shared vision will "take our cooperation on climate to an even deeper level", Desai said. "California is looking forward to continuing this very important work with our Chinese partners."

For Nevada, embracing win-win opportunities means greater prosperity not only for the two countries but the whole world.

Rudy Pamintuan, chief of staff for the Office of Nevada's Lieutenant Governor, thanked Chinese companies for participating in the CES, sharing their business experience and innovation.

Pamintuan said he believes "the ability to not do businesses around the globe together and create these partnerships has contributed to the instability that we currently see".

Acknowledging the detrimental effect of protectionism in global markets, he emphasized the importance of a win-win approach for both businesses and countries in paving the way for greater peace and prosperity.

He said Nevada's message to Chinese businesses is clear: Come to the US, identify opportunities and work together to achieve success.

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