USCBC members gathered in Washington, DC, for the organization’s 36th Annual Membership Meeting. USTR Ambassador Ronald Kirk delivered the keynote speech on “US-China Trade Relations Today and Tomorrow,” in which he pledged to work with China to further open its markets to US goods, services, and investments. Kirk said that the United States is “seeking to grow better-paying jobs here at home” by “opening markets around the world to US goods and services.” He also noted that China plays a central role in the international economy and that USTR will coordinate economic engagement with China through the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade and the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. USTR will focus on the enforcement of trade agreements, primarily through dialogue and negotiation, but also through dispute settlement when necessary, so that American businesses and exporters are on a level playing field with their Chinese counterparts.
Companies listened to presentations on the latest business trends in China at the conference. FedEx Chief Economist Gene Huang reviewed recent economic data, emphasizing positive trends in China’s economic recovery and the effects of various PRC government policies. Senior Partner and Managing Director for Boston Consulting Group David Michael provided an overview of China’s stimulus package, focusing on how the package and related policies could affect US companies. National Practice Leader of Organization Effectiveness for Watson Wyatt Worldwide Ilene Gochman shared recent human resources trends and company best practices, highlighting the drop in voluntary turnover rates that has occurred as a result of the global economic downturn.
The meeting concluded with a luncheon panel, during which three senior executives that recently returned from China-based positions offered their views of China’s current operating environment. Keith Davey, recently retired from Ford Motor Co., John E. Montgomery, recently retired from Hercules Asia-Pacific, and William E. Taylor of ITT Corp. provided perspectives on challenges faced and lessons learned from operating businesses in China.