The Houston Chapter of CGCC Hosts the First Annual Gala and Award Ceremony

Bilateral economic cooperation between the US and China was emphasized by political and business leaders at a Houston business gathering.

Call for cooperation at Houston business meeting

Deputy Consul General Liu Hongmei (right) presents an Outstanding Member Award to Sinopec America Inc, which was accepted by its senior adviser He Sujuan at the annual gala on Friday. MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

More than 200 officials and business executives of both Chinese and American companies attended the first annual gala and award ceremony of the China General Chamber of Commerce–Houston (CGCC-Houston) on Friday to celebrate bilateral economic cooperation.

At the gala, Chinese company Sinopec America and American company Yates Construction won an Outstanding Member Award presented by Liu Hongmei, deputy consul general of China in Houston; TPCO America Corp won the Community Champion Award presented by Asia Society Texas Center President Bonnie Kol; Harmonia Capital USA won the Annual Rising Star Award presented by Asian Chamber of Commerce Chairman Austin Chao, and Ernst & Young won the Annual Outstanding Contribution Award presented by Yuhuang Chemical CEO Charlie Yao.

“Since 2015, we have acquired 71 members, and CGCC-Houston has now become the commercial service organization for Chinese and US companies in Houston and eight other states in the Southern US,” said Li Shaolin, president of CGCC-Houston and Petro China America, Inc.

Li said that an increasing number of Chinese businesses have expanded their operations into the US and some of them have become market leaders here. “Chinese firms have invested in the US nearly $29 billion so far in 2016, and investments of Chinese private enterprises exceeded the state-owned ones for the first time,” said Li.

Xu Chen, chairman of the CGCC and president and CEO of Bank of China USA, said that this year China has overtaken the US to become the largest asset acquirer in the world. Also, the annual flow of foreign direct investment from China to the US has exceeded that of the US to China.

“China and the US, as the world’s two largest economies, are still at the early stages of realizing the full potential of bilateral investment cooperation,” Xu said, adding that with the improving oil price and the new US administration’s plan for infrastructural construction, the bilateral economic cooperation will bring more benefits to Houston.

Li Qiangmin, consul general of China in Houston, said that in the eight Southern states covered by the consulate, Chinese companies registered number more than 220 with more than $20 billion in investments, resulting in the creation of 5,000 jobs in local communities.

“I believe a lot of Chinese companies haven’t registered with us and the actual numbers are bigger,” Li said.

Li also pointed out that the Chinese investment in the US has been fast growing, with a 30 to 40 percent rate of increase in the past a years. As the No. 1 and No. 2 GDP nations of the world, it’s important for China and US to continue to work together,” Li said.

US Congressman Al Green congratulated Li Shaolin for reaching a significant number of members within one year of the establishment of the organization.

“I believe our relationship with China should continue and grow. We are entering into uncharted waters because our leadership has the opportunity to set the tone and tenor of our relationship. My hope is that in the transition from one leader to the next, there will be recognition of many decades of building our relationship,” Green said.

He said that the business-to-business relationship is going to make a difference in the relationship of the government. “I ask you to continue to forge the bilateral relationship; in so doing, you are going to have a meaningful impact on the relationship on the level of governments,” Green said.