China prominent at Select USA

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington | | Updated: 2017-06-20 14:12

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reassured the world on Monday that President Donald Trump's administration welcomes foreign investors.

Ross made the comment in his opening remarks at the 2017 SelectUSA Summit, a US government investment promotion program launched in 2013 by President Barack Obama's administration.

Trump is not expected to attend this year's summit being held June 18-20 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland. Obama had attended and spoke in all previous summits.

"We want to do all we can to encourage investment," Ross said.

He told the audience that the Trump administration will continue giving them the confidence they need to invest and spur mutually beneficial growth in communities across the US.

"There is no better time to invest in the United States and create jobs here than right now," said the billionaire cabinet secretary.

A record 1,200 foreign attendees from 64 economies came to this year's summit, including Ross noted, a record 155-strong Chinese delegation.

The Chinese delegation was also the largest in previous SelectUSA summits, a reflection of growing Chinese interest in investment in the US in recent years.

Chinese investment in acquisitions, new operations and expansion in the US grew to $46 billion in 2016, more than three times the previous record in 2015, according to an April report by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Dong Wenmei, chairman of T100 Kids, a children's clothing firm based in Guangzhou, said her company wants to go global after enjoying rapid growth in China in the past years.

"I choose the US as they have great business models and advanced technology," said Dong. Her company is negotiating possible acquisitions with several high-end children's clothing manufacturers in the US.

Chinese invested companies were featured prominently in Monday's program.

Gilbert Lee is the chief financial officer of Fuling Global Inc, a Chinese invested company in Allentown, Pennsylvania, making plastic disposable silverware, such as the straws supplied to major US fast food chains.

He was speaking on the same panel on renewed economic opportunities in the US with senior executives of heavyweights Oracle, ABB and BMW (USA).

He said investing in the US has cut the transportation costs for its products originally exported to the US by its factories in China. "We feel just like home in Allentown," Lee said.

Jane Liu, vice-president of Shandong Ruyi Group, was in the afternoon panel on collaboration models. Her company is planning to invest $400 million in a textile factory in Arkansas. The factory, which will create 400 jobs, is expected to break ground in the second half of the year and go into production next year.

Liu said she was deeply impressed by the Arkansas government team for its work efficiency and enthusiasm in welcoming Chinese investment.

Zhu Haicheng, deputy director of Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Chession Law Firm, got to ask GE's CEO Jeff Immelt and GM's CEO Mary Barra a question about how small Chinese companies could invest in the US in a conversation moderated by Secretary Ross.

Immelt said there are eight jobs in the supply chain for every GE job and many of those are in small businesses. Barra advised Zhu to look for places with welcoming governments and communities that can help small investors.

The US tops the 2017 A.T. Kearney Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Confidence Index, followed by Germany and China. Both the US and China are also among top recipients of FDI.

Charlene Cai and Dong Leshuo contributed to the reporting.


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