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China-US commerce to get 'open, connected, creative'

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-26 07:58

China-US commerce to get 'open, connected, creative'

Workers handle panes of glass at the Fuyao Glass America plant in Moraine, Ohio. The plant serves as the Chinese company's North American hub for recycled glass manufacturing. Fuyao Glass Industry Group took over the closed General Motors factory in Ohio and created 2,500 US jobs. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese-led factories in America, direct flights, aircraft orders make industry captains optimistic about future

"Through my brother's eyes, I saw factory after factory closed, unemployment grew, Dayton [a city in Ohio] became hollowed out," said Stephen A Orlins, president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, but great changes have taken place due to investment from China.

Orlins was quite emotional when recalling the grand opening of the newest US facility of Fuyao Glass Industry Group, a Chinese company leading the world's automotive glass manufacturing, in early October in his hometown.

"That morning two months ago, I watched the rebirth of a community because Fuyao Glass, a Chinese company, took over the closed General Motors factory, and created 2,500 US jobs," Orlins said at the organization's 50th anniversary gala last week.

Upon completion, Fuyao Glass America, a nearly 470,000-square-meter facility housed in General Motors' former assembly plant, will be the largest glass fabrication plant in the world.

This represents $450 million in total investment by Fuyao, the largest Chinese investment in Ohio history and the eighth largest direct foreign investment in the US in the past decade.

"I know I have glimpsed the promised land of a constructive US-China relations and I know we'll get there," Orlins said, paraphrasing Dr Martin Luther King Jr from his famous civil rights speech in 1966.

Orlins was not alone in having a glimpse of sound relations between the world's largest developed country and the largest developing country.

"China is enormously important to our success as a company and as a major US exporter," said Raymond L Conner, vice chairman of Boeing, the largest US exporter, in his speech at the event.

More than 50 percent of the commercial aircraft operating in China are Boeing airplanes, he said.

Boeing has forecast that in the next 20 years, China will demand 6,810 new aircraft with a total value of about $1 trillion. This demand will make China the biggest customer of Boeing commercial airplanes.

Chinese customers are expected to take delivery of 30 percent of all Boeing's top-selling 737 models and about 25 percent of all aircraft produced in Washington State and South Carolina, Conner said.

He said: "Obviously, these deliveries are very significant to the almost 76,000 Boeing employees who design, assemble and support our commercial airplanes.

"It's also very significant to the 1.5 million people in jobs who are supported through our supply chain here in the United States, and also for the communities, where all these businesses and people live and work across all 50 states.

"Clearly the Chinese aviation market continues to grow, so we're going to continue to see the number of the US jobs at Boeing and throughout our supply chain continue to grow as well."

Conner joined Boeing in 1977, five years after President Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China in February 1972.

"Just to give you a sense of the broader impact on the US economy, deliveries to China by Boeing support approximately 150,000 US jobs every year. That's an incredible number," he said.

Describing Boeing's partnership with China as "amazing," Conner said a sound US-China relationship is "vitally important to the world, certainly to the United States and China alike."

He said: "We are all stronger for working together through the years, and we certainly look forward to the opportunities to continue to strengthen, and celebrate these ties that are so important to our mutual success."

Oscar Munoz, United Airlines CEO, also echoed Orlins' and Conner's confidence in the future of US-China relations.

"I see a future that is increasingly open, connected, collaborative and creative," he said. "That's a future that is increasingly defined by win-win mentality rather than zero sum context between closed markets, and that has never worked, as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, and never will work."

United Airlines, which now flies a total of 100 weekly flights to six Chinese destinations-Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Xi'an, Chengdu and Hangzhou-is formulating strategies to meet the traveling needs of innumerable people in China, Munoz said.

Statistics from the Wall Street Journal show that while Chinese investment in the US was next to zero in 2006, it jumped to more than $20 billion in 2015.

More than $5 billion of Chinese investments in the US were completed in the first three months of 2016 alone, according to a study released in April by the NCUSCR and a research firm, Rhodium Group.

The largest was Dalian Wanda Group's $3.5 billion acquisition of the Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment, known for Batman movie The Dark Knight and dinosaur science-fiction adventure Jurassic World, among other movies.

With the US state of California remaining a top destination, Chinese investment in the US is increasingly spread throughout the nation into hospitals, car parts and other industries, according to the study.

China pumped $59 billion into the US from 2000 through to December 2015, buying or creating more than 1,900 companies that employ 90,000 workers, it said.

Chinese garments manufacturer Tianyuan Garment and Knitting Co Ltd announced in October that it will build a factory to produce clothing for brands such as Adidas, Armani and Reebok in Little Rock, Arkansas. Scheduled to open in 2017, the $20 million factory is expected to bring 400 jobs to Arkansas in the next four years.

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