AmCham head bullish on Sino-US opportunities

                Uploaded containers are seen at Qingdao Port in Shandong province on Jan 9, 2023. [Photo/VCG]
There will be abundant opportunities for collaboration between US and Chinese companies in the coming years, especially in the areas of healthcare, manufacturing and information and communication technology, said a senior official representing US businesses in China.
Colm Rafferty, chairman of the Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China, said that China remains an important and vibrant market for US companies, given its size as the world’s second-largest economy, with domestic consumption driven by increasingly sizable and affluent middle-income groups.
“Every relationship has its ups and downs,” said Rafferty. “Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years, China-US trade has continued to grow, creating jobs and improving the lives of citizens in both countries. We expect that trend to continue.”
AmCham China is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization whose membership comprises a large number of individuals from nearly 1,000 companies operating across China, including Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Honeywell, Walmart and Dell Technologies.
Rafferty said that many of its member companies have leveraged their global capabilities and worldwide manufacturing operations to bring world-class products and solutions to Chinese consumers.
These companies also carry out innovative solutions and production in China, selling goods not only to the domestic market, but also around the world, he said.
Driven by these factors and their complementary foreign trade structure, Sino-US trade climbed 3.7 percent on a yearly basis to 5.05 trillion yuan ($733.64 billion) in 2022, said the General Administration of Customs.
Rafferty said that agriculture provides another notable example of US-China collaboration, as the United States exported over $40 billion in agricultural products to China, the largest export market for US farmers, in 2022.
“Moreover, about 45 percent of our member companies in the services sector said that the globalization of Chinese companies and increased outbound investment are their top business opportunities,” he added.
Rafferty reiterated that US companies have contributed a huge amount to China’s economic development over the past few decades, adding that the chamber believes that they can continue to do so as China opens further.
Most of the US companies operating in China have no plans to relocate their supply chains, even though bilateral tensions continue to pose a significant business challenge for them, according to a survey released by AmCham China in early March.
The survey reported that improved Sino-US ties are seen as vital for business growth and both the US and the Chinese governments have a critical role to play. Their priority suggestions for the US and Chinese governments are to refrain from aggressive rhetoric and tit-for-tat actions against each other to establish a floor under the deteriorating relationship.
Rafferty noted that AmCham China’s member companies believe that increased commerce and people-to-people exchanges directly benefit the economies and peoples of both China and the US.
Anu Rathninde, president of the Asia-Pacific region for Johnson Controls — a US-based building solutions provider — said the company has a clear layout and strategies in response to China’s call for green city development, with a focus on the use of clean energy.
“This will also facilitate the further development of smart cities and steady growth of China’s digital economy, as driven by 5G, AI, IoT and the green development of diverse industries, which in turn will continue to provide us with more opportunities in this flourishing market,” he said.
After establishing its China travel retail headquarters in Haikou, capital of Hainan province, in 2022, Tapestry Inc — a New York-based company that owns the Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman brands — plans to open more than 10 new retail and duty-free stores in the province over the next three years, according to Charlie Hou, senior director of travel retail at Tapestry (Hainan) Group Co Ltd.

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