Time's ripe to invest in US

Updated: 2013-08-10 01:08

By Li Jiabao and Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

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It's an opportune time for cashed-up Chinese to put money into the United States, owing to a favorable investment environment and lower asset prices amid the weak US economic recovery, officials said on Friday.

"The US market is well developed with a sound legal system and there are a lot of sectors worth our investment, which will benefit both countries," said Tian Deyou, deputy director-general of the department of American and Oceanian affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.

Tian made the comment during a seminar on Chinese Enterprises' Investment in the US, which was sponsored by the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.

Paul Lam, president of the US China Global Investment and Trade Alliance, said that now is the "best time" for Chinese investors to enter the US.

"Rising costs at home threaten profits, and we have no choice but invest abroad. We have a good chance, as the Chinese government is encouraging overseas investment and the administration of US President Barack Obama welcomes Chinese investment. "

"The weak recovery in the US economy means opportunities to acquire technology, brands and sales networks, which can be connected with the huge Chinese market and bring great benefits to investors in both China and the US," he said.

William Zarit, minister counselor for commercial affairs at the US embassy in Beijing, said that the US is "very welcoming" to direct investment from China and other countries, which provides new capital for economic growth and infrastructure construction and job creation.

"We expect more and more investment from China as the country focuses more on industrial assets and technology with its huge foreign reserves," Zarit said.

China's cumulative direct investment in the US stood at about $20 billion at the end of May, with the money having come from about 1,000 Chinese enterprises. That compared with $700 million in 2005, according to Zarit.

Chinese investment in the US in the first half jumped 290 percent from a year earlier, compared with 29-percent growth in China's overall outbound direct investment, according to the ministry.

"The US has definite advantages in attracting foreign direct investment with its highly educated labor force and advanced free trade agreements covering America, Asia and the Middle East.

"In addition, the use of shale gas has significantly reduced energy costs, which benefits Chinese manufacturers in the US," Zarit said.

China and the US agreed in July that they would soon start substantive negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty, which will reduce investment barriers and facilitate market access in the two economies.

Despite the promising prospects, Tian noted that Chinese investors still face some difficulties in the US, the biggest being such cultural differences as language and region.

"Sufficient preparations should be made before any investment in the US" such as engaging legal, accounting and insurance services to reduce risks, Tian said.

He also urged Chinese enterprises in the US to contribute more to local communities as fast-growing Chinese investment has aroused concerns.

Contact the writers at lijiabao@chinadaily.com.cn and dingqingfen@chinadaily.com.cn.