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Briefing on the Outcomes of PresidentXi Jinping's State Visit to the United StatesBy Consul General Li Qiangmin
2015/10/16

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

From September 22 to 25, this year, we have witnessed President Xi Jinping’s historical and fruitful State Visit to the United States of America.

I would like to thank the Houston Chamber of China General Chamber of Commerce-USA for hosting today’s Luncheon. So that we can review this important visit, interpret the outcomes together. And I am more than happy to share with you my observation on how to take advantage of those outcomes in southern part of the U.S. to push our cooperation to a new high.

From Seattle to Washington DC, President Xi Jinping carried out many bilateral activities, made extensive contacts with people from all circles, and then moved to New York to attend UN General Assembly and other multilateral events. He enhanced understanding, deepened trust, expanded cooperation.

In Seattle, he met with local governmental leaders, attended a China-US Governors Forum and delivered a speech on China-US relations at a welcoming dinner hosted by local governments and friendly organizations. He reached out to different circles of American society, talking with entrepreneurs. He paid visits to Boeing factory, Microsoft headquarter and the Lincoln High School in Tacoma.

Upon his arrival in Washington DC on Sept. 24, President Xi had a three-hour-long informal meeting with President Obama. He received full state visit arrangements including White House welcome ceremony, a state dinner and official talks with President Obama on Sept. 25. Thereafter, President Xi left for New York to attend summits marking the 70th anniversary of the UN.

This is the first State Visit to the US since President Xi Jinping took office. It is the sixth visit by Chinese top leaders since Mr. De Xiaoping visited the US in 1979. And this is President Xi’s seventh visit to the U.S. since 1980s (1985, 1997, 2006, 2012, 2013).

President Xi’s State Visit ushered in a new era for China-US relations as well as international relations development. We can read the outcomes in the following five aspects.

Firstly, the direction of China-US relations is confirmed. President Xi stressed in his visit that, building the new model of major-country relationship is a goal that China and the US should make long-term efforts for. The two sides should ensure that the giant ship of China-US relations continue to sail along the right course.

Secondly, the China-US strategic mutual trust gains new improvement. The dialogue between the two heads of state, called as “Autumn Talks at White House”, continued the friendly, practical, candid and in-depth style of “Annenberg Estate Meeting” and “Night Talks at Yingtai,” and focused on in-depth and strategic communication.

There are extensive common interests between China and the US as well as frictions and differences. President Xi pointed out that the consensus is far greater than differences between China and the US. The two sides should treat differences with broad mind, manage and control disparities with positive steps. The two sides should gradually establish the habit of resolving them through dialogues and consultations. President Obama said that the competition between China and the US should be a constructive factor. He believes the two sides are able to manage and control disparities.

For instance, on problems like cyber security and the South China Sea, the two sides identified the common interests and agreed to carry out sound interactions. It shows that the two countries absolutely have the ability to transform differences into cooperation through dialogues and consultations.

Thirdly, China-US mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation has been further expanded. President Xi pointed out that win-win cooperation is the only right choice for China-US relations. President Xi revealed the potential of complementary advantages of the two sides. President Xi encouraged local governments and enterprises to innovate cooperation models and expand cooperation channels to make a bigger “cake” of their common interest.

President Obama said the US-China cooperation will have a major influence on the development process in the 21st century. Leaders of the US Senate, House of Representatives, local governments and business leaders said that US-China relations face vital development opportunities, and they are willing to continue supporting the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

Fourthly, this visit has enriched the connotation of China-US win-win cooperation. The two sides reached 49 important outcomes, and enterprises of the two countries signed commercial contracts.

The two sides agreed to push forward negotiations and speed up the pace to reach a high-level and mutually beneficial bilateral investment agreement.

The two sides agreed to expand the mutually beneficial cooperation in energy, environmental protection, science, technology, aviation, infrastructure construction, agriculture, public health and other areas.

The two sides agreed to designate the year 2016 as the China-US Tourism Year, and take more measures to expand student exchange programs and Chinese language teaching in the US.

The two sides issued a new joint statement on jointly coping with climate change.

The two sides also decided to establish a regular call mechanism on China-US economic affairs and jointly promote a steady world economic recovery and the stability of the global financial market.

This wide range of outcomes shows the expanding areas of cooperation between China and the US, and is welcomed by the two peoples and the international community.

Fifthly, the friendship between the two peoples has been further improved. Wherever President Xi and Mme. Peng Liyuan went, they reached out to the ordinary people.

At the White House welcome ceremony, President Xi mentioned his contacts with friends in Iowa, and quoted the ordinary US people that friendship is a big business. When visiting the Lincoln High School in Tacoma, President Xi Jinping invited 100 US students to visit China and hoped the young generation would carry forward China-US friendship.

President Xi also encouraged the Chinese community in the US to get integrated into the mainstream of society, and serve as a bridge to continuously contribute to China-US friendship and cooperation.

Mme. Peng and Mrs. Michelle Obama visited the National Zoo and named the newly-born panda, Bei Bei. This was one of the many highlights of the visit designed to enhance friendship between the two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A famous American saying goes, All politics is local. The relationship between countries requires local support in the end. Local cooperation plays an important role in state-to-state relations. The U.S. and China’s economic position, as world top two, is actually a huge rich mine, waiting for all locals to excavate.

We are in the southern part of the U.S., where the area is one fifth of the nation, population is one quarter, economic volume is more than one fifth, and the economic growth is faster than other regions.

In this region, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are rich in oil and gas. Texas, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi are important agriculture and forestry producers. Georgia is the center of many industries, such as transportation and vehicles, and Florida is highly developed in tourism.

In this region, we enjoy fantastic infrastructure, rich education resources, advanced high-tech industries such as aerospace, IT, biomedicine and clean energy. We are lucky in this region with so many advantages.

These advantages meet the large demand in China, where we are in deep economic structural reforms. How to promote the cooperation between China and the Southern U.S. can be a common project to all of us. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to propose some ideas to share with you,in the fields of trade and economy, science and technology, and people-to-people exchange.

First, trade and economic cooperation has huge potential. We had already a good foundation. In the latest decade, almost each of the 8 southern states has seen an over 100% growth rate for exports to China, many are over 200%, Alabama’s export to China even got a 579% growth during 2005 to 2014. It’s amazing.

At present, Chinese companies have invested over $17 billion in the Southern part of the U.S., creating thousands of jobs. In Texas, we have 113 Chinese companies with a total investment of $11.8 billion, providing about 2000 local jobs.

Texas companies also invest a lot in China. Take Houston as an example. A GHP data shows that, in Greater Houston region, at least 840 companies have business in China, 517 companies have set up 2700 branches in China.

We can find a lot of opportunities in the long outcome list of President Xi’s visit. Here I only mention a few of them, which are clean energy, high-speed rail and aviation.

Chinese Shandong Yuhuang Chemicals Group, with its American branch in Houston, has held the groundbreaking ceremony of its methanol factory in Louisiana. This clean energy project, with a total investment of $1.85 billion, can create 400 direct job opportunities and 2300 relevant employments, and increase the tax revenue for the local governments. The products can be exported to China, meeting the huge demand there.

Some more Chinese companies are interested in developing clean energy or chemical projects in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi or other states. Some of them have already found partners. Some are still researching the local policies and public services. They hope the state and city governments support their investments, giving them fair and preferential policies.

As to high-speed rail construction, you may know that China and American companies has signed an agreement to jointly construct the XpressWest Project, which will connect Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There are several high-speed rail routes in discussion in Texas, like Houston to Dallas, Houston to Austin. If Texas chooses China Railway Companies to take part in the constructions, Texas will know it couldn’t be a better choice.

As to civil aviation, we now have direct flights between Houston and Beijing, Dallas and Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, operated by Air China or American Airlines. Each flight has got high seats occupancy rate. Local officials are still talking about opening more direct flights. In the beginning of this month, when I was in Miami, the mayor told me he is hoping non-stop flights from Miami to China. Officials in Atlanta and New Orleans are also very interested in promoting non-stop flights to Beijing. I believe more direct flights will be soon initialed with the joint efforts of both Chinese and American sides.

Also, we should not forget agriculture. The beef of Texas, rice of Arkansas, oranges of Florida, peanuts of Georgia, are all famous in the world. Governor Abbott of Texas mentioned to me, that he hope the Texas beef can export to China. He will persuade the Taste of Texas to open a branch in Beijing, because he guesses Chinese people may love its steaks. I said to him, No--, one branch is not enough, they should open one hundreds stores in Chinese cities, each one must be popular. Of course, we should cooperate more and deeper in agriculture, such as in food security, agricultural biotechnology, big data and agricultural IT innovation, we should have more discussions and dialogues for future cooperation.

Here I would like to mention the Trade and Investment Cooperation Joint Working Group between Chinese Provinces and the U.S. State of Texas. This is a mechanism to strengthening the cooperation between five Chinese provinces and cities, which are Shandong, Tianjin, Jiangshu, Fujian and Sichuan, and Texas. The two sides jointly held a seminar in trade and economic cooperation in Houston in the end of September. Some companies of China and the U.S. had reached cooperation intention in the seminar. We welcome the establishment of similar mechanisms between other states and Chinese sides. It’s good platform for both sides to exchange ideas and strengthen cooperation.

Secondly, science and technology cooperation has a brilliant future. Texas proudly owns the world largest Medical Center. Texas Medical Center has close cooperation with China. M.D. Anderson established cooperation mechanism with 9 famous cancer hospitals in Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai. Among the foreign doctors working in TMC, which are 40% of all the doctors, one tenth are Chinese. Annually near 1000 Chinese students or visit scholars come to TMC, working or researching together with the scientists and doctors here. Of course, TMC are also attracting more and more Chinese patients.

TMC model has attracted broad attention of many Chinese officials, entrepreneurs and scholars. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong paid a visit to M.D. Anderson when she was in Houston this June. The main purpose of her visit is to get an in-depth knowledge of TMC and M.D.Anderson, to study their management and technology and to promote wider and deeper cooperation, including the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, especially the research in prevention, diagnosis and recovery areas, and programs in heart disease, cancer, diabetes and aging.

Dr. Robbins, the CEO of TMC told me that TMC are operating a new program-TMCx, which is an incubator for medical business innovation. I deeply admired their creative ideas and capacity. I visited the Houston Technology Center, which is the largest incubator for high-tech business. It’s so experienced and energetic. China is encouraging citizens to start business of their own. The opportunities of cooperation in this regard are huge. We can promote to establish China-U.S. joint incubators, accelerators and venture capital funds, organizing all kinds of high-tech companies communication and road shows. In this way, it will be easier for high-tech small businesses in southern part to go into Chinese market and get Chinese investment, and vice versa.

We are willing to open-up Chinese national plan of science and technology, supporting and encouraging American scientists including Texas scientists to take part in the national projects. We are always ready to involve in the international science cooperation projects, together with the U.S.

Thirdly, we have promising prospects for people to people exchange. In the aspect of education, President Xi has announced that, China will support 50 thousands Chinese and American students in total to study in the other country in the next 3 years. President Obama announced a one million Strong Initiative, which is to support one million U.S. students studying Chinese by 2020. I believe many universities and schools in this region will be interested in applying to attend this program.

2016 will be China-U.S. Tourism Year. It’s a tourism initiative led by the U.S. Department of Commerce and China National Tourism Administration. Its purpose is to expand and shape travel between our two countries. In 2014, Chinese tourists took 1.8 million trips to the U.S. Many of them had been here. There are many must-sees for Chinese in the Southern States, like Texas Big Bend, Miami’s beach, Toyota Center, NASA. Especially I want to mention the 2015 Mardi gras Festival in Galveston. It’s themed by A Salute to Shanghai. Think Chinese knots, lanterns, dance, magical dragons, martial arts, all filled with Chinese culture. We really can do more like this in the future. We also wish more southern cities would be Chinese tourist destinations.

Chinese youth are crazy about American movies. Almost each new movie imported into China falls short of demand. This April, Houston International Film Festival introduced a new unit called Panorama China and shows several Chinese films in 9 days, all were warmly received by native audience. Chinese popular movies like Lost in Hong Kong and Saving Mr. Wu are even showing in AMC theatres now. We encourage more Chinese movies show in this region and support more American movies export to China.

As the ancient Chinese saying goes, when everybody adds fuel, the flames rise high. An English saying says, many hands make light work. I believe, with our hard working, including me myself and all of you here, the southern U.S. would be a hot spot of China-US cooperation. Our cooperation will surely be pushed forward to new stages, which is just President Xi’s visit aims at.

Thank you all.

 

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