Houston, August 29, 2018 – China General Chamber of Commerce – USA (CGCC) hosted the “Chinese Investment in the US: The Path Forward” forum in Houston, Texas. The event brought together over 180 top US and Chinese business professionals, local state and county officials and community leaders to discuss the various challenges faced by both American and Chinese companies in the ongoing trade war, their ways to navigate these challenges, their predictions on the future of the US-China business relationship, as well as highlights and key findings from the 2018 CGCC Annual Business Survey Report.
The event started with opening remarks by CGCC Chairman and President and CEO of Bank of China USA, Xu Chen. Xu first thanked the honorable guests supporting this event, including Consul General Li Qiangmin from Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston, and County Judge Bob Hebert from Texas’ Fort Bend County. Xu stressed that the mutually beneficial economic relationship between China and the US has become the bedrock of cooperation between the world’s two largest economies and that the costs of tariff disputes will eventually be passed down to consumers. “Both nations can innovate and benefit far more through increased trade and cooperation, by exchanging ideas, goods, and services in an interdependent world,” said Xu.
In the following Fireside Chat moderated by Andy Serwer, Editor in Chief of Yahoo Finance, Charlie Yao, CEO of YCI Methanol One, and Bob Harvey, President & CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, agreed that the international character, friendly business environment and easy access to transportation make Texas, especially Houston, an attractive destination to international investors, and that it is still too early to see the actual damage as a result of the trade war. “China is one of the fastest growing partners, and the 2nd largest partner of Houston”, said Harvey, “We are working hard to bring the community together to discuss solutions, and voicing to the current administration about our thoughts”. As the leader of a fast-growing company that increases from 1 to 90 employees in four years, Yao shared his thoughts from a foreign investor perspective about setting up business in the US, “Localization is the key factor of business success.” He also mentioned that investors are looking for a stable and predictable investment environment.
Following the Fireside Chat, CGCC-USA team member William Cao shared some highlights of the CGCC community and key findings of its 2018 Annual Business Survey Report. Some of the key findings highlighted in the presentation included that
After CGCC’s presentation, Bob Hebert, Fort Bend County Judge gave brief remarks, emphasizing that the county maintains a very good relationship with China and has, since 2011, been sending hundreds of U.S. students to China to study and vice versa in the past eight years.
In the following panel discussion, also moderated by Andy Serwer, Shau Zhang, the Americas COIN Market Leader of China Overseas Investment at EY, Dexter Burleigh, President and CEO of Surge Energy, and Ramiro Rodriguez, Business Development Leader at Jacobs shared their experiences of operating businesses with Chinese stakeholders in the US and their observations on the trade war and its impact.
Dexter Burleigh, as the CEO of Surge Energy, a U.S. subsidiary of Shandong Xinchao Energy Co.,Ltd said, “To balance the relationship with the Chinese parent, it is helpful to establish a clear protocol in the beginning. After all, no matter Chinese or American, a company needs to provide good returns to investors.” Rodriguez, echoing on the positive side of China-US relations, explained that Chinese investment to the country is a great opportunity for people to work together. Shau Zhang shared her observation that “wait and see is what many companies are doing right now about the trade war, and people are very open to share their insights”, as she recalled the CGCC breakfast and conversation event held on August 28 with Madam Fu Ying, Vice Chairperson of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress of China.
CGCC-USA sincerely thanks CGCC-Houston, Bank of China USA, YCI Methanol One, LLC., EY, Surge Energy, Jacobs, Greater Houston Partnership and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Houston for supporting this event. CGCC will continue to support and organize events that generate conversations and improve mutual understanding between the US and China in trade issues.