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U.S. business leader says phase-one trade deal with China in smooth implementation

The implementation of the China-U.S. phase-one economic and trade agreement is proceeding “smoothly, effectively,” U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) president Craig Allen has said.

“So far as I know, that is proceeding smoothly, effectively, exactly as planned,” said Allen, whose organization represents over 200 American companies that do business with China.

On the policy objectives, “things are going well,” Allen said, noting that “U.S. company, indeed the U.S. government, recognizes that great progress has been made and that opportunities have been produced for foreign companies, including American companies.”

“So there’s a real correlation between Chinese interest and U.S. interest here,” he said.

Noting that he has seen “very good progress” in Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural products since April, the U.S. business leader, however, said the overall results of trade expansion are “mixed,” due to the “unforeseeable” consequences of COVID-19.

“On the direct side, we see a definite slowdown in demand for imported products in China and that affects everyone,” he said.

“On the indirect side, I would note that for example, energy prices are very low. And so therefore, even if you had a very high volume of imports, the value of those imports would be low,” Allen said.

“We have to recognize the realities of COVID-19,” he said, noting that both direct and indirect impact needs to be faced “squarely” and “honestly.” “You can’t wish COVID-19 away.”

Amid strained China-U.S. ties, Allen thinks it is especially important for the two sides to implement the trade deal fully and completely. “There are many other tensions within the relationship, but we need to keep stability where we can find stability,” he said.

According to USCBC’s estimates, approximately 2.4 million Americans are involved in U.S.-China trade or investment. “I think that the last thing that the U.S.-China relationship needs is a disruption in trade and investment, which will hurt both of our citizens,” Allen said.

“We need to think of the people, the workers, the farmers, and the ranchers that are active in U.S.- China trade,” he said.

“We should be careful to maintain the foundation of the relationship,” which, he argued, is largely economy, trade and commerce based.

“Both of our Chinese history and American history show that our countries are strongest and most prosperous when our countries are open and welcoming trade and investment,” Allen told Xinhua.

The United States and China together account for 40 percent of the global economy, Allen said. “We have mutual responsibilities to meet our commitments, and mutual responsibilities to the global trade, to minimize disruption and maximize economic value for all.”

Noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting a “relatively robust” recovery of over 8 percent in 2021 for China, Allen said “that makes China’s role as a global engine of economic growth even more important as the global economy struggles to recover from a pandemic.”

Even with the sped-up supply chain shift amid the pandemic, he said almost all USCBC member companies are increasing investments in the Chinese market.

“Most of our companies are large investors in China, and they are there because the Chinese market is very large and growing rapidly,” Allen said.
Source: Xinhua

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