4:50 P.M. EST
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you for the hospitality here at the chamber, Tom. I appreciate it very much, and thank all of you at the chamber and from the U.S.-China Business Council hosting this event; and a warm welcome to Vice President Xi and the Chinese delegation.
I indicated as -- the entry hall that we’ve not -- I’ve not been a very good host thus far. Vice President Xi arrived yesterday, and we’ve had him going since 8:30 this morning, meeting after meeting. He just returned from the Pentagon. And immediately Tom Donohue said, well, don't forget, Joe, he’s much younger than we are. (Laughter.)
We’re joined by so many distinguished business leaders, and this indicates at least two things, Mr. Vice President, they're honored to have you here as our guest and, secondly, how important they feel and we feel -- U.S.-China economic and trade relationships are for both our nations. And as you and I have discussed in the past, Mr. Vice President, we presume as well to think they're important for the world at large.
In this area, as in many others, we’re working together to an unprecedented degree. Let me be clear: I believe, as the President said also to the Vice President in the Oval Office not long ago, we believe that a rising China is a positive development -- not only for China but also for the United States and the world. It will fuel economic growth and prosperity, and a rising China will bring to the fore a new partner with whom we can have help meeting the global challenges we all face.
Even as our nations cooperate, though, as the Vice President point out, we will continue to compete. As Americans, we welcome this competition. I’ve said to the Vice President before, it’s part of our DNA. And it pushes our companies to develop better products and services and our government to craft better policies.
But competition can only be mutually beneficial if the rules of the game are understood, agreed upon and followed. I’m pleased that we have made progress in areas of concern. China’s exchange rate is appreciating, though still substantially undervalued in our view. China has committed to rebalance its economy and has just informed us that it will move forward this year with a tax reform policy that will increase imports and promote consumption.
China has also just told us that it will open third-party liability auto insurance market to foreign companies, an important step in the reforming of the financial sector.
And China has responded to our concerns about procurement policies and established a high-level body to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights as well.
For our part, the U.S. is working to be responsive to Chinese concerns as well. For example, the United States is expending our visa processing capacity in China to help reduce delays and encourage Chinese travel to the United States.
But I’m sure, as the Vice President will be the first to tell you, we have work to do -- especially on issues like discriminatory subsidies and financing, protecting intellectual property and trade secrets and ending the practice of making the transfer of technology a requirement for doing business.
The United States will also work to ensure that all countries play by the international rules. We’ve brought cases that have challenged unfair trade practices, and we’ve defended U.S. producers and workers in many arenas.
And in last months, State of the Union address, President Obama announced further steps to investigate and challenge unfair trading practices, protect our markets from counterfeit and unsafe goods and level the financial playing field for our companies.
I look forward to hearing from those of you gathered here today about both the benefits -- and there are many -- and the challenges of doing business in China, as well as about your plans here and their plans here in the United States. We welcome your suggestions as to how our governments can address the difficulties you face.
And I want to thank you again, Tom, for your hospitality and thank all of your colleagues for joining us, and I look forward to our discussions.
Mr. Vice President.
VICE PRESIDENT XI: (As interpreted.) Vice President Biden, President Donahue, Chairman Muhtar Kent, Chairman Wan Jifei, business representatives to both China and the United States, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends it gives me great pleasure to attend this business roundtable in Washington D.C., together with Vice President Biden.
I wish to thank the CCPIT, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-China Business Council for their careful organization, and business leaders of both countries for their active participation. The 20-plus business leaders from China and the United States present today include representatives both of the rural economy, financial sector, the traditional manufacturing industry and emerging industries. They represent both state-owned enterprises and private companies.
The broad and active participation of business people in both countries has made the comprehensive, mutually complimentary, and win-win China-U.S. economic relationship more colorful and more dynamic. The purpose of my current visit to the United States at the invitation of Vice President Biden is to implement the important agreement of the two Presidents and advance the China-U.S. cooperative partnership.
This morning, I met with President Obama and held talks with Vice President Biden. During these meetings, we had in-depth and candid exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of shared concern. We reached a new and important agreement that will help us enhance mutual trust, increase mutual understanding, and generate win-win outcomes.
We had an in-depth exchange of views on economic and trade issues. We agree that China-U.S. economic relationship is highly mutually complimentary and full of dynamism. The two sides should quicken our steps to build a comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership, advance the investment and trade package plan on cooperation, address economic frictions through dialogue and cooperation instead of by protectionist means so as to promote a steady recovery and growth of the two economies and the world economy as a whole.
With regard to the U.S. concerns concerning trade imbalance, IPR protection, indigenous innovation and investment environment, the Chinese side has taken steps to address them and will continue to do so. We hope that the U.S. side will adopt the same positive attitude and take credible steps as soon as possible to address Chinese concerns on lifting restrictions on high-tech exports to China and providing a level playing field for Chinese companies investing in America.
Since the normalization of China-U.S. relations, business people of the two countries have worked together to make progress. What they have done has made important contribution to China-U.S. economic cooperation and overall China-U.S. relationship. In the process, they have shared development opportunities and reaped handsome profits. This is a true example of one reaps what he has sown.
Given the growing uncertainties and instability in world economic recovery, there has become an even more pressing need for China and the United States, and our businesses, to strengthen cooperation. In August last year, in Beijing, Vice President Biden and I attended a business forum. And today, once again, we are having this face-to-face interaction with business representatives of both countries.
In doing so, we want to increase and expand China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation and bring it to a higher level, to the greater benefit of the two peoples. To achieve this end, I would like to share with you some of my observations. First, the British thinker Francis Bacon said, “The ripeness or un-ripeness of the occasion must ever be weighed.”
At present, both China and the United States are at a critical juncture of shifting growth models. China is implementing its 12th Five-Year Plan with focus on expanding consumption, upgrading service sector, and encouraging Chinese companies to go global, while the United States is implementing the National Export Initiative, investing in America and programs with focus on expanding exports, boosting the manufacturing sector, and inviting in foreign companies.
The economic agendas of the two countries have a lot to offer to each other and there is space for our cooperation in energy, environmental protection, biomedicine, advanced manufacturing and infrastructure. I hope business people of the two countries will follow their trend to seize the opportunities and translate potentials into real win-win outcomes.
Second, range far your eye over long vistas. We should adopt a long-term perspective and have broad vision. The vision of an entrepreneur decides his strategy, his actions decide his attainments. I hope business people will not let the drifting clouds block their views, will not allow their hands to be tied by some temporary disturbances. Instead, I hope they will develop more and better products and services. Here I wish to congratulate General Motors for becoming world champion in car sales last year.
As far as I know, the SAIC-GM, a joint venture of SAIC and GM now produces and sells 1.2 million cars every year. For two consecutive years, GM sales in China has exceeded its sales in the States. Last year, the urbanization rate of China reached 51.2 percent with urban population totaling 690 million. With the continued process of urbanization, it is estimated that by 2015 the total retail sales of consumer goods in China will reach 32 trillion RMB.
During the 12th Five Year Plan period, China will import over $8 trillion U.S. worth of commodities. Such a huge Chinese domestic market offers broad space for mutually beneficial cooperation between Chinese and American business communities. We welcome more American companies to make investment in China.
Third, to strengthen the role of China-U.S. economic relationship as the ballast and propeller in our bilateral relationship -- those two metaphors of ballast and propeller shows how much weight our economic relationship carries and as that it serves a strong, driving force.
Last year, our bilateral trade hit a record high of $446.6 billion U.S., an increase of 16 percent on year-on-year basis. At this rate, it is expected to top $500 billion U.S. I hope business communities and chambers of commerce in both countries will continue to care about support and take part in China-U.S. economic cooperation, present a true picture of mutually beneficial China-U.S. economic relationship to the governments and the people, oppose protectionism, and more vocally effectively prevent politicizing economic issues and avoid various kinds of undue interference so as to uphold to the overall interests of China-U.S. relationship and bilateral relationship.
Fourth, running business conscientiously, honestly fulfill corporate social responsibility. Both Chinese and American business people should come to realize that only with credibility a company can win a good reputation.
I’m happy to learn that Chinese Wanxiang Group in recent years has purchased some bankrupt American enterprises that has helped to keep more than 3,500 jobs for local people. And the Tianjin Pipe Corporation of China invested $1 billion U.S. in the state of Texas, creating 800 jobs for local people. I am also happy to learn that some of the American companies represented here have taken active parts in poverty alleviation and scholarship programs. All these have demonstrated the strong sense of social responsibility and morals of Chinese and American business people.
I hope while expanding your business, you will further reward the local community, creating jobs for local people, increasing revenues for local governments and taking part in the public welfare and community development projects, so that our two people benefit more from China-U.S. economic cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, American writer Edward Bellamy said, “The Golden Age is before us, not behind us.” Looking ahead to 2012 and even longer time to come, I’m fully confident that the Chinese economy will maintain steady and fast development; that the U.S. economy will achieve strong recovery and growth, and that China-U.S. economic cooperation has a bright future.
I sincerely hope that business people of the two countries will seize the opportunity and strive for greater progress and write more success stories in China-U.S. economic cooperation. I thank you. (Applause.)
END 5:08 P.M. EST