Group calls for investment treaty with China
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
WASHINGTON — An American lobbying group predicted that the United States economy will grow by 3 percent by the end of the year and called for the US government to temper its adversarial position with China.
Thomas Donohue, president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, which claims to represent 3 million US companies and industry associations, said not enough has been done to improve the US economy to put the nation’s unemployed back to work in his annual speech Thursday to the chamber.
In his speech, in which he predicted a 3-percent growth in 2012, Donohue said the US needs to strike an investment treaty with China in order to attract more international investors.
"Our country should make a major effort to attract global investors," he said. "Foreign investment already supports 5 million direct jobs and millions of indirect jobs. We need to negotiate more bilateral investment treaties. … India and China should be high on that list."
But there has been a wave of harsh criticism against China in the US recently. In the recent Republican presidential primary, many presidential hopefuls bashed China over its currency rate and military development. Last week, a new Pentagon strategic review named China, along with Iran, as potential threats to US security, raising the ire of Beijing. This year is particularly critical for both nations as China moves toward a political transition, while the US will be holding its presidential election in November.
"It appears that whether it’s Republicans or Democrats, whether it’s the House or the Senate, especially in the current presidential race, everybody seems to have something to say to China," Donohue said.
In a news conference after his speech, he said that smoothing out economic relations with China is the only solution.
"If we are advancing our economic relationships, then there is going to be less concerns about the adversarial relationship but more about cooperation to deal with the geopolitical issues in the region and around the world," he said. "Let’s put more energy into the trade and investment side."
Donohue struck an optimistic tone in his speech Thursday and said the trade deficit between the two countries has narrowed and exports to China have grown. He pointed out that the yuan has appreciated over the past few years. According to IMF figures, the yuan appreciated by 17 percent in real terms since 2009 after accounting for inflation.
With a growing population of 1.3 billion people, China is experiencing growing numbers in the middle-class and creating opportunities for American manufacturers and service companies, Donohue said. "We should continue vigorous and strong exchange with China to protect our interests and advance our economy, while at the same time maintaining a cooperative and helpful relationship with China to deal with the challenging issues around the world," Donohue said.