On September 17th, China Daily USA and Bank of China hosted the 8th Vision China Forum: “China-US Relations: 40 Years & Beyond”, at the Asia Society in New York. CGCC served as a special event partner at the event. With over 200 guests in attendance, including more than 80 representatives from CGCC member companies, the forum convened distinguished leaders in China-US relations to discuss how the two countries should resolve their differences and advance their ties.
The event featured opening remarks from: Maurice Greenberg, Chairman of Starr Companies, Executive Vice Chairman, National Committee on United States-China Relations; Zhou Shuchun, Publisher and Editor-in-chief of China Daily and Xu Chen, Chairman of CGCC, President and CEO of Bank of China USA.
In his keynote speech, Cui said, “We have learned from the past four decades that cooperation is the only right option for us. It is something we should always uphold.”
The envoy said that some Americans blame a rising China, which they claim will displace the US to be the world’s new hegemon.
“But I do not see the onus on the side of China. It is how America perceives China that should be held to account.”
Cui’s points were echoed by Stephen Roach, Senior Fellow at the Yale University Jackson Institute of Global Affairs.
“We have a lot of problems in the United States. Unfortunately for us, it is very convenient for us — always when we have problems — to blame them on somebody else,” said the former Chief Economist at Morgan Stanley and Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.
“We did that with the Japanese 30 years ago, we are doing it again with China,” Roach said.
Speaking at the opening of the forum, Zhou Shuchun, China Daily’s Publisher and Editor-in-chief, highlighted the importance of the two nations proceeding from what they achieved over the past decades.
“If we could break the ice 40 years ago when there were virtually no exchanges and interaction, then in today’s world of interdependence, with the two countries being each other’s biggest trade partner and main investor, owning very much a piece of each other, there is absolutely no reason for the future to be going against the tracks of history, and the talk of ‘decoupling’ is sheer nonsense,” Zhou said.
Craig Allen, President of the US-China Business Council, recalled the history of China-US business relations.
He discussed the first major rebellion of the British North American colonies in 1773, virtually the spark that created the United States of America, in which patriots at the Boston Tea Party, disguised as native Americans, threw tea imported from Fujian into Boston Harbor to protest a new tax that the British colonial government had put on the tea.
The uprising was referenced in America’s Declaration of Independence, its founding document, in which Thomas Jefferson laid out the formal claims for independence when he complained that England’s King George had illegally cut off trade with all parts of the world and “imposed tariffs without our consent”, according to Allen.
“This is interesting and has a relevance even today,” he said.
Talking about the current trade tensions between China and the US, Allen said he hoped the leaders of the two countries will be inspired by the friendship, cooperation and mutual benefit that has characterized the bilateral relationship in the past.
“We have a glorious history. We have a mutual responsibility to ensure that the success of the past continues into the future,” he said.
Maurice Greenberg, Chairman of Starr Companies, said he believed it’s time for both countries to have a trade agreement.
“If both sides can’t do it, both sides will suffer. I’m convinced of that,” said Greenberg, also vice-chairman of the National Committee on United States-China Relations.
Kenneth Quinn, President of The World Food Prize Foundation, recalled the February 2012 visit by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Muscatine, Iowa, where Xi talked about and quoted Mark Twain, and about seeing the sun over the Mississippi River.
“To have someone who is a head of state, but of another country, speak about my country that way, was so impactful, so dramatic. It left a very, very deep impression on me,” said Quinn, former US ambassador to Cambodia.
Xu Chen, Chairman of CGCC, President and CEO of Bank of China USA, said that while his bank acts on corporate social responsibility by engaging in poverty relief projects in China and helping low-income local communities and small businesses in the US, it’s important for countries to commit to “state social responsibilities”.
“If the US is willing to work together with China for mutual benefits and shoulder ‘state social responsibilities’ on the world stage, I believe that China will gladly work hand-in-hand with the US and jointly promote a more peaceful, stable and prosperous global community,” Xu said.
Speakers at the event also highlighted the role of people-to-people exchanges played in boosting the relations between the two countries.
Connie Sweeris, a player behind the ice-breaking “ping-pong diplomacy” of the 1970s, encouraged people to play a part in the relationship, just like she did with sports and cultural exchanges. “We need to be ambassadors for peace,” she said.
The event also featured a panel discussion on Chinese companies’ investment in the US, featuring Xiao Yuqiang, CGCC Vice Chairman, Chairman of the US Management Committee of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Vivek K. Sarin, Interim Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; and Jeff Liu, CGCC Board Director, President and CEO of Fuyao Group North America. The discussion was moderated by Ji Tao, editor-in-chief and president of China Daily USA.
The New York event at Asia Society was hosted by China Daily and Bank of China. It was the eighth Vision China since it was launched in 2018. Each has featured global opinion leaders invited to discuss Chinese topics of international significance.
**Click here to view photos and video of the Chinese Investment in the U.S. Panel discussion
Founded in 2005, the China General Chamber of Commerce – USA (“CGCC”) has been recognized as the largest and most influential non-profit organization representing Chinese enterprises in the U.S. Its membership consists of more than 1,500 Chinese and U.S. companies, 54 of which are ranked on the 2019 Fortune Global 500. CGCC’s mission is to create value, generate economic growth, and enhance cooperation between the U.S. and Chinese business communities. CGCC conducts extensive research and provides a broad range of programs, services, and resources to its members and key stakeholders in an effort to foster the mutual understanding, trust, and engagement between China and the U.S. As of 2018, CGCC’s Chinese member companies have cumulatively invested over $120 billion, employ more than 200,000 people, and support over one million jobs throughout the United States.
CGCC is a national organization and includes CGCC-New York (CGCCUSA-HQ), CGCC-Chicago, CGCC-Houston, CGCC-Los Angeles, CGCC-San Francisco and CGCC-Washington D.C.