"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Speech by Ambassador Locke at the U.S.-China Investment Forum

[Place] Xiamen, China
[Date] September 9, 2012
[Source] Embassy of the United States (Beijing)
[Full text]

AMBASSADOR LOCKE: Really it’s a pleasure to be here at this U.S.-China Investment Forum. I want to thank Harley for the great job that he’s doing on behalf of AmCham South China and also Jennifer Galt who is our new Counsel General here in Guangzhou.

I also want to say before I begin my remarks that the United States government, the people of America extend their deep condolences to the people of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan who lost loved ones during the earthquake of Friday. We know that tens of thousands of homes were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of that. The U.S. government and the people of America stand ready to assist in any way possible.

I also want to say just how pleased I am to be here in Xiamen for the very first time in Fujian Province. Last night we had a round of very very busy activities, but then we were able to sneak away late in the night to Gulangyu Island and also afterwards we went to have some of your famous peanut soup at the 100 year old Guangjehe Restaurant. That was quite a treat.

But as I said, this is my first visit to Xiamen and it’s a beautiful, beautiful city. I’m looking forward to even more visits.

I’m particularly pleased to see that the AmCham has brought such a large and active delegation this year to the 16th Annual China International Fair on Investment and Trade. Harley tells me that AmCham members have signed or will sign deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars during this fair.

This kind of activity brings benefit to both countries -- jobs, revenues, ideas, and also people to people exchanges, all of which goes to enrich the most important bilateral relationship in the world today. With over 2000 members AmCham South China is one of the largest and fastest-growing Chambers in the world, and I understand now, and Harley just showed me some pictures of its new office tower in Guangzhou with its big logo on the top. That’s history-making.

I also want to acknowledge the Xiamen municipal authorities and Fujian authorities, government leaders, for organizing this 16th China International Forum of Investment and Trade which brings together large numbers of people from across the world and reaffirms the importance of China’s global trade and investment potential. This international fair is very important to the United States as well. So we’re very, very pleased to have Deputy Director General Yang of the China Investment Promotion Agency here and giving his remarks, and we also know that Chairman Cho of the glass company will be giving some remarks in just a few minutes. We have a very distinguished panel of speakers later on in the program and we’re so pleased that you’re able to take time out of your very busy schedules to participate in this investment forum.

Because investment in both directions -- U.S. companies into China and Chinese companies into the United States -- reaffirms the vast mutual benefit of a strong U.S.-China relationship. This is far from a zero sum game in which one country’s rise is to the detriment of another. We are pursuing win/win opportunities and a win/win partnership.

America is the largest investor, foreign direct investor in China. And America is China’s top trading partner. Outside, if you don’t count the EU, America is China’s number one export destination.

So we welcome the opportunities that this 16th International Fair brings to further strengthen U.S.-China ties. Earlier this week Secretary Clinton was in Beijing to meet with the top leaders of China and to express our firm commitment to broadening this relationship.

Much of the history of the 21st Century will be written in the Asia Pacific region. That’s why CIFIT, focusing on increasing economic ties and investment in particular is so important.

In the last several decades the Asia Pacific region has emerged as a key driver of international economics and politics, and this region is known for its dynamism, its creativity and its diversity. This particular region will account for, now accounts for, about 60 percent of the world’s GDP. Having CIFIT in Xiamen, Fujian has also brought particular resonance, let me just say, on a personal level to myself and our government.

First of all, Xiamen is the site of one of our very first consulates in China out on Gulang-yu Island and the building is still there. We had to take a peek at it last night. And Fujian, along with Guangdong Province accounted for most of the immigration from China throughout the 1800s and much of the 1900s. As many of you know, my grandfather was just one of millions of Chinese immigrants leaving our ancestral village in Guangdong, Taishan, Guangdong Province for opportunities in America.

So our ties are more than economic. They are cultural. They are family ties.

The United States has been a leader in the Asia Pacific for nearly 200 years and our presence in this region has helped maintain stability, foster economic growth, and create opportunities for all peoples.

Recognizing the critical importance of this region, it’s no wonder that President Obama from the very beginning of his administration identified engagement with Asia Pacific as one of his top foreign policy priorities and set out substantially to increase our investments. Not just economic, but also diplomatic and strategic, in this part of the world.

We’re committed to this region. Our commitment is multi-faceted, reflecting the scope of our relations and our interests here in China.

President Obama has met with President Hu more than 11 times. We’ve had more military exchanges in the last several years than at almost any point in the U.S.-China relationship. Many, many cabinet level ministers and secretaries from the United States have traveled to China for meetings.

So when we talk about stronger engagement in Asia we’re also talking about stronger engagement with China. We think that over the last several years the actions of the U.S. government in meeting with the Chinese leaders, bringing delegations of government leaders to China and having meetings all around the world demonstrates our interest and commitment to a stronger engagement with China.

On the economic front we’re seeking to further regional economic integration through the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This agreement would promote innovation, economic growth and development, ensuring the continued economic dynamism of the entire Asia Pacific region.

We’re also significantly increasing our assistance to the region through the Asia Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative that was announced by Secretary Clinton in Phnom Penh in July. And we’re committed to promoting universal values such as transparency, rule of law, human rights, and good governance because we believe that these are critical components of long-term regional stability, prosperity and economic growth.

Clearly as countries with the largest economies and in the case of China the largest population in the Asia Pacific, the United States and China have a unique role to play in ensuring regional peace and prosperity. We have a shared interest in working together for the good of not just our own peoples, but indeed the peoples of the entire region.

As our leaders have said, we intend to make history in our relationship with China in the 21st Century. We intend to find a way to coexist and to cooperate without unhealthy competition, rivalry or conflict. Because conflict between a rising power and established power is not inevitable. As President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping and Secretary Clinton have all indicated. We must therefore forge a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

But we must also recognize that rhetoric alone is not enough. We need to demonstrate that our cooperation achieves real results and brings real benefits to both our peoples and indeed to the international community.

In our economic relationship we believe this requires fairness in both policy and practice. Fairness means guaranteeing a level playing field for healthy competition between U.S. and Chinese firms, establishing a more open investment climate and ensuring more opportunities for foreign goods, products and services, and improving protections for intellectual property. Indeed, intellectual property rights is now an issue that is being raised even more often, perhaps, or just as often by Chinese entrepreneurs and Chinese businesses as by foreign companies.

Fairness also means that the United States will listen and respond to Chinese concerns as well, so that together we can find ways to unlock the economic potential of our two great nations.

That’s not to say that we will always agree. There are always issues in which we will have very different opinions, just as America has different opinions with Germany and France and even our neighbors to the north or south, Canada and Mexico. But it’s our conviction that a China that’s more open to all these ideas and expressions will lead to a stronger and more secure China, which is something that the United States and the world welcomes.

So let me be clear. We welcome a strong, prosperous China that takes its rightful role on the world stage. We want to partner more fully with China to promote peace, stability and development, which benefits both of our countries. Not just our countries but the Asia Pacific and the international community.

The good news is that today the United States and China are already working together more than ever before in ways large and small to expand our cooperation and to address the global challenges that we face.

On the economic front we’re working together to achieve real results for our peoples. Forty years ago it would have been difficult to imagine the interdependence that characterizes our two economies today. To put this in tangible terms, in 1972 when President Nixon first came to China our yearly bilateral trade was less than $100 million. Two-way investment in each other’s markets was close to zero, and only a handful of American jobs relied on trade with China.

Today more than a billion dollars of goods and services flow between our two countries every single day. And over 800,000 American jobs depend on producing goods and services sold to China. An even larger number of Chinese jobs are now anchored by trade with the United States. U.S. business invested tens of billions of dollars and created job opportunities for millions upon millions of Chinese workers since the beginning of China’s economic reforms. We have major companies like Dell, Proctor & Gamble, Mead Johnson and Amway who have placed their China headquarters in Fujian and Guangdong Province, and FedEx has its Asia Pacific cargo hub in Guangzhou. I’m told that last year, and even Harley has indicated this, AmCham South China members have created over 500,000 jobs in this region and are on track to reinvest some 10 billion U.S. dollars in this region this year. So people in both countries are benefiting from this deepening economic integration. And measured against the past where the relationship has been, our two sides have made enormous progress.

Indeed Chinese companies with operations in America are also making important contributions to U.S. output and employment and they are very valued members of the American communities in which they have operations, while at the same time growing their businesses to the benefit of their owners and their shareholders here in China.

In total, Chinese direct investment in the United States increased by almost a factor of eight between 2005 and 2011, from $700 million to $5.4 billion, and in fact it’s on a record pace so far in 2012 with almost $4 billion in deals completed just in the first six months of this year. We know that many more big deals were announced just in the last several weeks.

So this trend is a very positive development for both the United States and China.

The Chairman of CNOOC, Chairman Wang Yilin, told me last week, that CNOOC’s investment in Chesapeake Energy in America will someday employ as many as 20,000 Americans, and CNOOC is looking toward even additional investments in the United States.

Chinese companies benefit when they go to the United States by gaining access to the world’s largest markets, to a highly educated labor force and a very efficient one, to the most modern management and corporate governance, as well to research, and development infrastructure. At the same time Chinese investment in the United States creates American jobs. It helps boost our U.S. exports and it creates stronger U.S. economic and commercial ties.

Our message to our friends here in China is clear. We welcome Chinese investment in the United States the same way that companies from other countries around the world have invested in America. We have numerous substantial investments in the United States from companies from Germany, from Russia, from Brazil, from Japan, Korea, India, all around the world. We want even more investment from China. Because we know that foreign direct investment in America is vital to our economic growth, job create, and productivity.

To that end the U.S. Embassy working with AmCham South China has produced a ten minute video in Chinese that’s available on our embassy or consulate web site. It talks about the investment climate in the United States. It has three objectives. Number one, to dispel the false stereotypes and misperceptions about investing in America. Number two: It highlights the many, many Chinese companies that have in fact gone to America and successfully invested in America. And number three, it actually outlines some of the key ingredients to successful investment in the U.S., namely to have a good set of advisors -- legal advisors, financial advisors, PR advisors or management advisors.

A critical component of increased investment to America is ease of travel between our two countries. So as Ambassador I’ve made streamlining our visa processes a top priority in order to facilitate these exchanges. I’m happy to announce that our embassy in Beijing and our consulates throughout China have issued more than one million visas so far for travel to America. The demand is so great for visas that we believe that by the end of the year we will have issued 1.4 million visas. That’s 40 percent growth over last year and a doubling of the visas that we’ve issued since two years ago. We’ve been able to do all of this while keeping our wait times down for appointments. In fact right now if you were to go to the consulate in Guangzhou you only have to wait two days for your interview appointment. Elsewhere it’s also two to even four days. That compares to 100 day wait time two years ago in the summer time in Beijing, or last year the wait time for your appointment in Shanghai was more than 70 days. It is now two to four days.

Also if you used to have a visa, if your visa had expired more than a year ago, in the past you had to come back in for another interview. The new rules and regulations say that you have up to four years after your visa expired without having to come in for another interview. Just renew it by basically dropping it in the mail or dropping it off at a Citic bank to have that visa renewed. So again, many significant changes that will make it much easier and more convenient to obtain a visa to travel to the United States on business or tourism or to study.

To keep up with future growth, however, we also want to go beyond these reforms to our internal systems. So we’ve informed the Chinese government formally that the United States is willing to give the Chinese a five year visa for business, tourism or study. But we first need China to agree to give the Americans the same five-year visa. We’re actually having very very good discussions and negotiations with the Chinese government on this issue.

All of these joint efforts that I’ve talked about show that the United States and China can work together in the Asia Pacific region and again around the world to support common goals and to achieve real results for our peoples. We’ve got a long ways to go but I’m hopeful that together we can escape from the historical patterns and instead forge a legacy of cooperation and partnership that will be a model for future generations.

I want the history books to say 50 and 100 years from now that it was China and the United States working together that solved not just the challenges and problems of China or the United States, but indeed, solved the problems facing the entire globe.

China has a history of countless contributions to world civilization spanning thousands of years. America has been a source of innovation and value to democracy and ideas in the modern era. Imagine what our two countries can do together.

The more we’re able to bring our two peoples together in common cause the more we’ll be able to deepen shared convictions between our people. A prosperous China is good for the United States and a strong U.S. economy is good for China. A strong U.S.-China relationship is good for the entire world. Thank you.