Joe Biden

Remarks by the Vice President and Chinese Vice President Xi at a U.S.-China Business Roundtable in Beijing, China

August 19, 2011

VICE PRESIDENT XI: (As translated.) Vice President Biden, representatives of the business communities of the two countries, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, it gives me great pleasure today to have this operation to attend together with Mr. Vice President, an opportunity presented by your visit to China, actually -- the China-U.S. Business Dialogue.

I know that the representatives present are accomplished business people in your respective fields, and you have made active contribution to the business cooperation between our two countries.

Let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation and pay my tribute to the efforts you have made in advancing the business cooperation between our two countries. Enterprises are key contributors to the wealth of human society and important forces in driving world progress and development.

Business people of both China and the United States -- honest -- (audio difficulties) -- over the past 30 years and more since we established diplomatic relations, the business people of the two countries have worked together in a pioneering effort and returned a lot of -- (audio difficulties) -- January this year, President Hu Jintao paid a successful state visit to the United States.

President Hu and President Obama jointly inaugurated a new stage in China-U.S. ties that is our joint effort to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

During his visit to the U.S., President Hu Jintao encouraged business people of the two countries to make the most of the opportunities presented by the deepening economic globalization, actively explore each other's market, and promote our mutually beneficial cooperation.

President Obama also stressed that the cooperation between the business communities of the two countries is the most important part of U.S.-China ties. The businesses of the two countries are the primary force of the business cooperation between us. And it's for you to work together in exploring and shaping the future of our cooperative partnership.

I believe it's important that China-U.S. businesses should seize the opportunities and work together to pursue common development as China-U.S. relations continue to deepen and in particular in the face of a complex and severe situation of the world economy.

To do that I would like to make the following four points. First, we need to reinforce confidence. The international financial markets, drastic fluctuations and uncertainties and destabilizing factors confronting world economic recovery have intensified, posing new challenges to economic growth and the businesses of the two countries. Under such circumstances what's most important is to reinforce confidence as confidence is more precious than gold.

As far as China is concerned, we will continue to pursue a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy. We will maintain the continuity and stability of our macro-economic policy and make it more targeted, flexible and forward-looking. We are going to strike a proper balance between fast and steady growth, adjustment of economic structure and managing inflation expectations. We are confident that we are able to keep steady and fast economic growth. There will never be a so called "hard landing" for the Chinese economy.

Yesterday in my discussion with Vice President Biden, he briefed me about efforts of the U.S. government in spurring growth and jobs, cutting the budget deficit, properly handling the debt problem, and preserving the confidence of global investors.

The U.S. economy is highly resilient and has a strong capacity for self-repairment. We believe that the U.S. economy will achieve even better development as it rises to challenges. We hope that the business people of the two countries will reinforce confidence, work hard to turn challenges into opportunities and embrace change and innovation.

I hope that the business people of the two sides will make active contributions through their development to the growth of China and U.S. economies and to the strong, sustainable and balanced development of the global economy.

Second, we need to take a long-term perspective. If one is to have a full view of the scenery, one needs to cast his eyes to the far horizon. Over 30 years ago, when China just launched a firm and prudent exploration of reform and opening up, crossing the river by testing out the stones, the business people of the United States already showed extraordinary vision and courage and came to China for investment and business establishment.

Over the past 30 years and more, they have witnessed China's fast development and shared the opportunities of China, their investment has produced bountiful results. Today's China has a more enabling policy environment, improved infrastructural facilities, better services and a larger pool of human resources. There is even broader space in the Chinese market.

It has been clearly stipulated in China's 12th five-year plan that we will accelerate a shift of growth model and stimulate greater domestic demand. In the next five years, China is expected to import over $8 trillion of commodities, and by 2015, the total retail sales of China are expected to reach 31 trillion RMB-yuan, and that will create greater business opportunities for American businesses and businesses of other countries.

At the same time, an increasing number of competitive and far-sighted Chinese businesses are actively exploring the American market. We hope that the business people of the two sides will take full advantage of the enormous opportunities for cooperation in energy, environment, infrastructure, biomedicine, financial services and between small- and medium-sized enterprises.

We hope that they will work closely with each other, make the most of the current favorable conditions and invest in the future, writing together new chapters in our business cooperation.

Third, we need to deepen cooperation as China's reform, opening up and modernization drive gather momentum. There has been a fundamental change in our conventional model of cooperation where the United States provides capital and technologies; and China labor, resources and the market. Today an increasing number of U.S. businesses -- is providing quality services and products to Chinese consumers. And more and more Chinese businesses are going to the United States to make investment and start businesses, contributing their part to the growth of the U.S. economy and the creation of jobs in the U.S.

For example, the North America route opened by COSCO has contributed to the prosperity of American ports and more jobs there. The Novel and Haier Group have opened factories and R&D centers in the U.S., and their products are wildly popular with American consumers. The Xiangtan Electric Manufacturing Corporation of Hunan province will also soon establish a branch in Delaware. Mr. Lu Quanqiu from Wan Xiang Group has employed over 600 local people in his company's branch in the United States.

These are the vivid examples of the growth of our business cooperation, and it shows that our cooperation is expanding and moving to a higher level.

There is competition in our cooperation. Yet such competition is healthy based on mutual learning and mutual reinforcement. In a fundamental sense it is conducive to our common development.

Fourth, we need to be mutually inclusive. A Chinese proverb reads, as an ocean admits all rivers, one is to be inclusive to all things.

Given the big size and rapid expansion of our business cooperation, it's only natural that we have some differences and frictions in our cooperation. But we need to approach them with an inclusive mind, and we need to properly handle these differences through equal consultations in compliance with the law of the market and WTO rules. We should not politicize or sensationalize the trade issues.

Here I want to emphasize that China will continue to free its mind and stay committed to reform and opening up. We will -- running the country according to the law, and make continual improvements to our laws and regulations related to foreign business cooperation. We will intensify IPR protection and treat all businesses as equals in terms of the accreditation of indigenous innovation products and government procurement.

At the same time, we hope the United States will eliminate the interferences of trade and investment protectionism. We hope that there will be early and concrete actions on the part of the United States on issues which are of high concern to the Chinese side, including easing the export restrictions of high-tech products to China and providing a fair environment for Chinese businesses to make investment in the United States.

I believe as long as we treat each other as equals and embrace mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, we will have even better growth in our business cooperation.

In conclusion, I wish even greater accomplishments for the business people of the two countries. And together we can write more success stories in our practical cooperation.

Thank you. (Applause.)

VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you. I will be brief. There's much to talk about. The Vice President and I -- and I want to thank him for his hospitality and look forward to his reciprocal visit to the United States. I -- we've had an opportunity to talk at some length, and we'll have further opportunities, so I will be brief because I'm mainly here to listen.

Much has changed since my first visit here, actually to this hotel over 30 years ago with a group of -- I was then a very junior United States senator, and we were the first delegation to meet with Deng Xiaoping. And I brought with me the heads of -- we brought with us, the senators, the heads of certain American companies, two of whom are here today and -- although they weren't here 30 years ago -- both Caterpillar and DuPont. And there was open discussion about the possibility of American business doing business in China, which was unheard of up to that point, and the reverse, as well.

And I'm pleased to say over 30 years later, I look around this table at such a group of successful and powerful business leaders, both in China and America, and it gives me reason to have great optimism about the next 30 years.

I agree with what the Vice President said, and he listed the four areas that I will not go into detail, the four points that he wanted to make. But with regard to the point about confidence, I want you to know that I have absolute, unequivocal confidence in the strength and the vitality and the growth of the American economy. No one has ever made money betting against America. And I am absolutely confident, as well, that the two largest economies in the world are the road to world recovery. And we've had many discussions so far, many hours of discussions.

I also agree with the Vice President that competition is healthy. It is good. It has awakened us. It has regenerated us. It has -- it is nothing but welcome on the part of the United States. And one other point we'll get to discuss today, I hope you will discuss, is that we welcome -- President Obama and I, we welcome, encourage and see nothing but positive benefits flowing from direct investment in the United States from Chinese businesses and Chinese entities. It means jobs. It means American jobs.

We also welcome and are really encouraged by the 12th five-year plan and the reordering of the economy toward a more consumer-based economy. That is also -- I never tell another man or another country what's in their interest, but it seems to me it's very much in the interest of the Chinese and the Chinese people, but it's also in the interest of the United States.

So I would also like to point out that we've made much progress, but there are some real and perceived barriers that exist in both countries that have to be dealt with. I think it's legitimate for Chinese business persons and government officials to point to the dilemma with the American visa process, which I very much want to work on with the Vice President. I think there's other things.

But I also think you are aware that we think market access is -- changes have to take place here in China, as well. And so the Vice President and I have had all of our discussions, going back to our first meeting in Rome, based on mutual respect. And one of the things that I have a bad reputation for is being straightforward, and I'm really pleased that the Vice President has been straightforward, as well.

And so only friends and equals can serve each other by being straightforward and honest with them about the perceived injustices or the perceived tilting of a playing field; and you have legitimate concerns about access to America. And I would argue we have legitimate concerns in reverse. But the trajectory -- the trajectory of the relationship is nothing but positive, and it's overwhelmingly in the mutual interest of both our countries. And it's presumptuous to say this, but I think it's in the interest of the world. It's in the interest of the world that we increase -- increase -- the interaction between not only our business community, but our economies writ large.

Obviously, economic issues have been a particular focus of the growing cooperation between the United States and China. Our governments are committed to and working hard to promote economic growth. It's strong. It's sustainable, and it is balanced, fair and open. Bilateral trade and investment between the United States and China, as is pointed out, is growing rapidly in both directions. We'd like it to go even more rapidly in terms of investment in the United States because it creates jobs and it creates economic opportunities in both countries. And we will have more good news later today about greater access and also continued development and investment both ways.

Our enhanced cooperation to put it bluntly and succinctly is extremely good for the United States. I would suggest, although you would make -- be your own judge, I think it's good for China, as well. And I think it's good for the wider world.

And so in the spirit of trying to figure out how to resolve both perceived and real barriers that exist on both sides of the Pacific, I'm anxious to listen and be educated.

So, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Mr. Vice President. I'm anxious to hear what people have to say.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks by the Vice President and Chinese Vice President Xi at a U.S.-China Business Roundtable in Beijing, China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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