Remarks at Opening of CEO Roundtable
Secretary of State
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Special representatives, friends of the business community, (inaudible) joining us in the Strategic and Economic Dialogue through a cultural performance, then the roundtable is a routine program of this cultural show. So I will first give the floor to State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (Via interpreter) Vice Premier Wang, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, business leaders from China and the United States, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. First of all, let me warmly welcome all the business leaders from China and the United States at this breakfast. I’ve seen many old friends and new friends here today. So all of the four special representatives are here, and we also have the leading figures from important ministries and agencies of China, and I think this shows – the presence of them shows how much importance our two governments attach to our business relationship. And I’ll be looking forward to the remarks from all the business leaders as well as your insights.
And business is a backbone of China-U.S. economic relationship. Over the past 35 years, our bilateral trade increased by over 200 times. It was up from U.S. $2.45 billion in 1979 to $520 billion in 2013. Bilateral investment, which was hardly in existence, grew to U.S. $100 billion last year. So without your hard work, there would not have been such big progress in our bilateral economic relationship and trade.
The businesses also drive our cooperation. Trade and investment between our businesses’ leaders – businesses not only brings goods and jobs to us, but also mutual understanding and friendship among our peoples. Over the past 35 years, we have been expanding the areas of our cooperation and have seen a big increase in our people-to-people exchanges, and we ought to thank our enterprises for their hard work.
Finally, the business is also the pillars for our new model of major-country relationship, which is an unprecedented and innovative endeavor. We need to work very hard and work continuously. And we also look forward to the active support and participation of people from all sectors so that our companies and businesses play very important roles.
And I believe that the government departments from those countries will attach great importance to your views and your comments, and we will try our best to include them into the agenda of S&ED so as to remove the obstacles for cooperation between our two – between the companies of the two sides and create a better development environment for all of you. Thank you.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Secretary Jacob Lew please.
SECRETARY LEW: Thank you very much, Vice Premier. On behalf of President Obama and all of my colleagues in the States, I’d like to thank our Chinese colleagues for hosting this morning’s discussions, and to all the business leaders who’ve come (inaudible). As we all know, we’re in the middle of our sixth U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and over the past five years, this has really become a foundation of our economic engagement.
I think that the dialogue itself is the government-to-government engagement. But what’s really driving a lot of what we do economically is the people-to-people engagement that goes on in the business world. I think it’s important to remember that before we had diplomatic relations, we did have commercial relations. They were small, and as the State Councilor noted, they’ve grown tremendously over the last 35 years. But it began with relationships in commerce and grew into government-to-government relationships.
Today, strengthening the commercial relationship remains an important task ahead of us. It’s a way of creating economic growth and jobs in our two countries, and it’s a way to help drive the global economy forward. You, the business leaders, are the strongest champions of the robust, fair and expanding U.S.-Chinese relationship.
The United States welcomes foreign direct investment. It has been the backbone of our economy for our entire history, and we look forward to discussions that will continue (inaudible) the next few years. Foreign direct investment from China in the United States has grown tenfold, and we hope that we can, through conversations like this, continue to identify opportunities (inaudible) in both countries.
Last year marked the first time that Chinese direct investment in the United States was greater than investment from the United States into China. Chinese firms are making important contributions to U.S. output and employment and are valued members of the communities in which they invest.
U.S. firms, which, I believe, are the most dynamic and innovative in the world, likewise are contributing to the Chinese economy. And they’re capable contributing to even more of China’s efforts to transform its development model, develop its services industry, deepen financial sector reform, and improve access to capital and boost domestic demand. It’s important that these firms are able to participate in healthy competition on a level playing field that will produce benefits to both our nations and the global economy.
And that’s where each of you, the business leaders here this morning, comes in. Each of your firms plays a pivotal role in helping to propel the U.S.-China relationship forward. And with that, I look forward to hearing your comments this morning about the successes you’ve had in the collaboration, and importantly, the challenges you face where we, as government officials, can perhaps play a role to help make things easier on both sides.
With that, I look forward to hearing what all of my colleagues on both sides – the government part of the table, but mostly what the business side of the table – have to say here this morning. Thank you very much.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) Secretary Kerry please.
SECRETARY KERRY: Vice Premier Wang, thank you very, very much. Thank you very much for your generous welcome here over the last 48 hours. We’re really delighted to be here with so many high-level, extraordinarily successful, confident business leaders. And I’m very happy to be joined with a very strong American delegation. Our – in addition to the Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, we have our Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, our Trade Representative Mike Froman, our Counselor to the President John Podesta, our ambassador – well, Senator Max Baucus. And we really have come here to listen to you. We want to hear your thoughts.
But I would just say as a preface to that, the State Department today is very clear that economic policy is foreign policy and foreign policy is economic policy. And all of our people – the people of China, the people of the United States, really the people of the world – are looking for their fair opportunities. That was part of the unrest that we see in certain parts of the world. Huge numbers of young people connected to everybody in the world, every day, all the time. So everything that happens anywhere is now known to everybody.
The fact is that it’s a world of rising expectations, but it’s also a world of rising possibilities. And nobody defines that more than your businesses. When half the world is still living on less than $2 a day and a large percentage of it on $1, there’s immense opportunity for growth and development. How we manage that is really what is going to define, I think, this century.
And the fact is that you’ve heard the figures. Thirty-five years ago, $2 billion of trade in goods; now, well over 500 and growing, with foreign direct investment moving in both directions – not yet even, but something we need to work at, but it doubled last year from China to the United States. We want to do better. We are in the middle of negotiating now a bilateral investment treaty. We’ll want to get that completed. We want to have an intellectual/technology trade agreement. We need to make sure we’re protecting intellectual property rights; make sure we’re creating transparency in the regulatory process; make sure that we are raising the bar for everybody in a sense, in terms of the standards by which we do business.
China and the United State represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind, and it is only going to grow. So this is a very important meeting and we really look forward to hearing from you your thoughts about how we, in the Obama Administration, can grow these possibilities, meet your needs, strengthen our countries, and strengthen the security relationship as well, which grows out of the economic relationship at the same time.
So thank you for coming today, and we thank the Vice Premier and the State Councilor for convening us.
MODERATOR: (Via interpreter) I want to thank the three special representatives for their opening remarks. Now I will open up the floor.