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China Playing An Increasingly Vital Role In US Companies' Growth Plans
- Dec 26, 2018 -

As California-based Tesla Motors Inc will start partial production in Shanghai in the second half of next year, and Boeing delivered first airplane from its Zhoushan facility in China earlier this month, business leaders believe that stable China-US relations will help more companies from the United States maintain robust growth in China.

China has become an integral part of the growth plans of many US businesses, not just because of its sheer size but also due to its strategic importance, according to Stephen Shafer, president of 3M China, the Minnesota-headquartered conglomerate.

"China is actually becoming the leader in many markets and technologies that we are interested in," said Shafer, referring to digital platforms in China that help companies engage with customers.

"If China can implement the reforms recently outlined by its leadership, I believe we will enjoy a better and longer lasting bilateral relationship between the US and China," said Bob Huff, CEO of Huff Strategies LLC.

Huff, a political veteran, made these remarks in an exclusive interview after China's annual Central Economic Work Conference which was convened from Wednesday to Friday in Beijing. During the meeting China's top leadership reviewed the country's economic work in 2018, analyzed the current economic situation and arranged economic work for the coming year.

A former California State Senator, serving from 2008 to 2016, Huff said that periodic review of real-world results from a country's national and international policies is a healthy and important procedure, especially when China enjoyed tremendous results in the past 30 years, transforming into the second-largest economy in the world.

"I applaud China looking at their economy, global conditions, and taking corrective actions to address some of the inadvertent imbalance," Huff said. "As their economy slows, it is natural and healthy to make midcourse corrections to focus its growth in ways that best benefit its people, nation and the global economy."

Huff focused on China's new policies to turn current development pressure into an impetus for high-quality development, including speeding up the optimization, upgrading its economic structure, enhancing the capability of technological innovation, and deepening reform and opening-up.

He praised China's plans to encourage new and high-tech businesses to drive the country's economy.

"Supporting high-value businesses with tax breaks or less regulations will allow China's industries to spawn more innovation and more sustainable, higher productivity," Huff said. "Innovation, not business as usual, is usually at the heart of higher efficiency and value."

Huff, who was the California State Senate minority leader and Senate Republican leader from 2012 to 2015, said California benefits a lot from Pacific Rim trade, specifically from China, since China is the state's No 1 trading partner, but the state also suffers a lot when bilateral trade worsens since California is the gateway to the US for most Chinese goods.

According to him, among other industries, the logistics industry in California, comprised of five high-capacity ports, four transcontinental railroads, warehouses and freeways, suffered when bilateral trade deteriorated from disputes between Washington and Beijing.

"As a former State Senator still promoting California and its products, I look forward to the US and China working out their trade differences. California has a multitude of high-tech and agricultural products waiting to grace the shelves of China's markets, but so does the rest of the United States," Huff said.

"I have traveled extensively in China and look forward to eating more US beef, accompanied by southern rice and enhanced by California wine," he said.

China will continue to create more space for global companies to deepen cooperation in 2019, especially in the agriculture, high-tech and clean energy sectors, said Song Xianmao, deputy director-general of the Department of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce.