New centers will boost US-China ties, CEO says

Updated: 2014-03-26 12:03

By Michael Barris in New York (China Daily USA)

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A plan to establish a cluster of global trade and investment centers around the United States will bring the US and China closer by fostering "great cooperation through great capitalism", a US corporate executive behind the project said.

Michael Gordon, chairman and CEO of Los Angeles-based USAChina Investments Group, briefed reporters in Manhattan on the company's plan to establish five global trade and investment centers in the next two years with China Industrial Cooperative Association, an industrial and economic development organization spearheaded by China's first premier, Zhou Enlai.

Under the plan, supported by China's Ministry of Commerce, the first of the centers - each encompassing approximately 18,000 square feet - would launch in Los Angeles in July. A second would open in San Francisco in the fall. Center launches also are planned for New York, Chicago and Houston next year.

Each center would house about 150 companies, mostly in the small to medium-sized range, or generating annual sales of up to $250 million, Gordon said. Each center would have offices, including conference rooms, meeting rooms, and event-training rooms capable of holding 70 to 80 people.

Staff at each center would number about six, all of whom would be both English and Mandarin speaking, Gordon said. Each facility would include "service partners" such as accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and insurance and financial services company American International Group.

USAChina Investments Group is investing about $9 million in each center, Gordon said. The company would generate profit from rental and membership fees and service fees, the executive said.

Gordon said the Chinese-American community will be encouraged to explore an opportunity to take an ownership stake in a local center.

"My experience in China is that I very much want the Chinese-American community to be part of the centers," he told reporters. "So that when the folks from China come, they have familiarity. Folks will already be here who understand the community and how America works."

An aim would be to help the small- and medium-sized China-based companies "hit the ground running", Gordon said.

The goal is to attract companies that are "actively involved in commercial business - already up and running or very well funded on their own account," Gordon said. "Our center is designed to be transactional. That means you're either trading or you're investing. That's why you're there. And we're going to resource you with education and training, professional and administrative resources so you can accomplish your transaction.

"We're not a school. We're not a law firm. We're about transactions, helping companies transact business. We've created an environment and a platform where confidence on both sides of the ocean pre-exists," he said.

The US government "has stated unequivocally they want foreign investment", Gordon said. "Foreign investment is a good thing in the United States, for diversification, for community buildup, tax base and employment base - these are all very good things," he added.

Gordon is a former adviser for the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute in Beijing, which fosters US-China trade relations with high-level government support from both countries.

Gordon called the launch plan's timing "perfect" given the cooling economy and rising labor costs in China. "Economic success in China starts with adopting your business around the policies of the government," Gordon said.

"The best place to find intellectual property - the human capital necessary to execute the new business strategies and to survive and thrive in the global economy - is right here in the States. So it's a perfect time for these companies. Whether they like it or not, it's happening. And they need to be a part of it."

(China Daily USA 03/26/2014 page1)