Remarks at Roundtable With U.S. and Chinese CEOs at the Strategic & Economic Dialogue / Consultation on People-to-People Exchange

Antony J. Blinken
Deputy Secretary of State
Blair House, Washington, DC
June 24, 2015

Well, good morning, and thank you all very much. I’m very pleased to represent Secretary Kerry here this morning, and I want to extend greetings to Vice Premier Wang, State Councilor Yang, Minister Liu, Ambassador Cui, Deputy Secretary General Jiang, and Vice Minister of Finance Zhu.

We’ve had a couple of very productive, interesting, challenging days in our Security & Economic Dialogue. On the security side, I would simply say that we have worked well and hard to deepen the cooperation that we’ve been demonstrating in many areas both between ourselves and around the world, and also to address forthrightly some of the differences that we have.

But in the relationship, as has been said, the role of trade and investment, the role of business leaders is absolutely central and critical. And indeed in many ways, the relationship is defined by the economic cooperation that has been deepening and growing in strength in recent years. And you heard the Secretary of the Treasury talk about some of the figures that are known – well known to all of you. And I think the results of this increasingly close economic cooperation continue to be seen and felt every single day. Every day entrepreneurs are bringing new products to market, our investors are breathing life into companies on both sides of the Pacific, our students are increasingly studying and learning in each other’s universities.

I had the opportunity to travel to Beijing on my first trip in this role as Deputy Secretary of State, and I think in one afternoon I experienced with Ambassador Baucus all of the potential and all of the challenges of the relationship between the United States and China when it comes to our economic partnership. We took a train to Tianjin from Beijing. And in Tianjin, we visited the GreenGen power plant, which is an extraordinary project that aims to develop high-tech, low-emissions coal-based power in partnership between China, the United States, and other countries.

And that gave us a glimpse of what the potential for the future is, and the potential of cooperation between our countries. At the same time, we sat with the American Chamber in Tianjin and heard both about the opportunities that they’ve encountered but also the challenges. And we received a report prepared in conjunction with Bain on the business climate in China for American companies. And again, we heard the very good but also the challenging.

And finally, on the train ride back to Beijing from Tianjin, we sat with three young Chinese entrepreneurs who were involved in startup companies. And I can tell you that if you closed your eyes and just listened to them, they sounded exactly like young people in Silicon Valley in California – the same approach, the same views, the same attitudes. And that gave me a remarkable sense of actual confidence about the tremendous potential for entrepreneurship and for innovation going forward in China.

I think we know that success in business is not just a matter of having a good idea or getting a bank loan. A virtuous cycle exists between the public and the private sectors. Entrepreneurs provide the ideas and the products that drive trade and spur growth, but as the Secretary of Treasury said, government provides the regulatory and legal framework that supports industry and ensures that all participants – however big, however small – benefit from a fair playing field. Innovation, job creation, sustainable growth thrive in an open investment environment with transparent and predictable regulations, where the rule of law works for everyone.

And of course, this virtuous cycle doesn’t happen automatically. It requires constant tending. And it requires all of us, and indeed all of you leading figures who represent a uniquely important community that serves as a bridge between the United States and China.

So we look very much forward to hearing from you today, to hearing your experience – again, for good and for challenge – to learn how we can help, how we can do better, and how we can all help grow the relationship between our countries. Thank you.