China welcomes US firms to Belt, Road

By Trevor Williams in Atlanta for China Daily | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-03-10 12:09

With globalconnectivity havingfueled its 40-year growth spurt, China is now looking to help its fast-growing neighbors build infrastructure needed to tap internationalmarkets.

And that means opportunity for the US,experts said on March 2 at a Belt and Road Initiative conferenceat the Carter Center in Atlanta.

Fueled by billions in infrastructure funds, the ambitious plan aims to restore or enhancemillennia-old links between China and its historic trading partners. China has already begun helping countries and international organizations which showed interest in the plan to accelerate their existing growthplans through capital and construction know-how.

So far, about 40 countries and international organizations signed cooperation agreement with China.

NicholasKwan, research directorof the Hong Kong Trade Development Council,believes the world is in need of productive capital, especially in a time of "de-globalization".

"We are at a time when capital only goes to quick and easy places and perceivedsafe places after the crisis," Kwan said.

In a venue that housesthe library and nonprofit ofUSPresident Jimmy Carter, who normalized relations with China, speakers acknowledged how far bilateralties have come since 1979.

But working together commercially in Asia won't necessarily be easy as many major economies like the US seem to beshifting inward.

Geopolitical tensions are alsomounting, asUS President Donald Trump has surrounded himself with economic advisers wary of China's rise and defense officials taking a harder line on China's stance in the South China Sea.

Tian Deyou, minister counselor for economics at the Chinese Embassy,emphasized that Belt and Road Initiative focuses onlong-term growth and is"open and inclusive", providing opportunities for American firms with exposure inChina,like Dell, John Deere, Goldman Sachs and Caterpillar.

GE Power is a tangibleexample. The American giant is working with aconsortium ofChinese utilitiesto build three plants in Pakistan, a deal that made use of itsdeepChina partnershipsand financial support of the Chinese government, said James Suciu, GE's vice-president of strategic accounts.

"Chinese engineering-procurement-construction companies are great partners, and with that, because of our footprint we can obviously tap into that financing that's available for Chinese exports, and we do it quite a bit," Suciu said.

These stories show how the bilateral relationship can work, despite the rocky start under the new president, Tian said.

"We respect the choice of the American people, and we are ready to do our best to try and continue the existing China-American relationship," Tian said.

"This is too big of a relationship. We have to treat it with care."


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