China’s leadership will be crucial to resolving global economic imbalances and political conflicts, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said during a speech at the US-China Business Council’s (USCBC) 2010 Gala, held December 1 in Washington, DC. Nearly 350 guests from USCBC member companies, US and PRC governments, and the China-watching community attended the event. Guests included US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and USCBC Chair and the Coca-Cola Co. Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent.
Albright, who advises the Obama administration on foreign policy, delivered the keynote address at the dinner and emphasized the importance of building a strong US-China relationship. She stated that both American and Chinese citizens have a stake in the bilateral relationship: “On the economic front, our two societies are increasingly bound together. A decline in prosperity in either would have a major consequence in the other.”
As the world’s second-largest economy, China’s “actions, decisions, and policies have a profound impact on commodity prices, energy use, climate change, and commercial opportunities in other lands,” Albright said. “So it is no wonder that everything China does or fails to do receives more scrutiny now than ever before. With power comes responsibility—and the wise handling of responsibility is what leadership is all about.”
Kent offered welcome remarks at the start of the dinner program. PRC Ambassador to the United States Zhang Yesui then spoke about US-China cooperation efforts and the future of the bilateral relationship. He stressed that US legislation on the renminbi exchange rate would not help the US employment rate or trade deficit.
Other US government attendees included Reps. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Department of Commerce General Council Cameron Kerry, and Undersecretary of State for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs Robert Hormats.
USCBC Hosts Shanghai China Operations Conference
The US-China Business Council’s (USCBC) China Operations Conference in Shanghai featured various presentations on China’s business and investment climate. The November 18 event also offered attendees the opportunity to network with USCBC member company executives.
Economist Stephen Green, head of Greater China Research at Standard Chartered Bank in Shanghai, gave an overview of forecasts for macroeconomic conditions in 2011. Tim Stratford, partner at Covington & Burling LLP, addressed major issues affecting the US-China relationship, including the renminbi exchange rate, weak intellectual property rights protection, and market access problems in the United States. Laura Hu, director of government affairs for Asia-Pacific for Solutia, Inc., and Devry Boughner, director of international business relations at Cargill, Inc., identified government affairs strategies they have used successfully in China.
Speakers also addressed rising costs in China, labor and collective bargaining developments, commercial implications of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), and developments in cross-border settlements.