by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. business owners and investment groups attended a specialized forum on the current investment and trade opportunities with China on Thursday in downtown Los Angeles, California.
Speakers at the forum, hosted by the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board's L.A. Office and Sino America Business Development Co., acknowledged that the relationship between the United States and China stands as one of the most significant and multifaceted economic partnerships in the world.
They also agreed that as two of the largest economies, the two countries' intertwined trade and investment networks and decisions influence commodity prices, currency values, and investment sentiments worldwide, and play a pivotal role in shaping global economic trajectories and industry trends.
The total volume of China-U.S. trade reached a record high of nearly 760 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, according to statistics from the General Administration of Customs of China.
Post-pandemic, An Tran, executive officer in the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of International Affairs, is looking forward to seeing more of what exciting opportunities China and Shanghai have to offer U.S.-based businesses and investors, pointing out that it has been a productive two-way street, with "China remaining one of the largest sources of FDI (foreign direct investment) in L.A. County."
Doug Bruhnke, CEO of Global Chamber and acting executive director of Global Chamber Los Angeles, told Xinhua that he is optimistic about doing business in China in the future, despite political tensions.
"No matter what's going on politically, we need to be collaborating. We need to be working together," he said. "Trade is in the best interests of both our countries. Transparency and trust and working together and building a village of traders and supporting trade are all good things."
Forum presentations showcased China's growth as a global hub for research and development where foreign firms can tap into this ecosystem and benefit from cost-effective innovation, abundant talent, and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
The event also featured presentations from leading experts on doing business in China with a focus on leveraging trade fairs, especially China's two major trade shows, China Import and Export Fair, also known as Canton Fair, and China International Import Exhibition (CIIE).
The two trade shows are open to all types of consumer goods and services, Vlady Cornateanu, founder/president of Sino American Business Development Co., CEO of Addiction/True Affair Apparel and a 30-year veteran participant in the Canton Fair, told Xinhua.
"Technology, logistics, social media, transportation, car manufacturing, medicine, agriculture, hotels, construction, manufacturing equipment and so much more are there. Any industry imaginable can find what they need to do business," he explained.
Launched in 1957, the trade show is held every spring and autumn in Guangzhou. For foreign businesses predominantly interested in manufacturing and/or importing from China, the Canton Fair is one of the most significant trade events globally.
About 35,000 enterprises attended the 2023 spring Canton Fair on-site as exhibitors. The fair serves as a nexus for international trade, drawing participants from over 220 countries and regions.
For foreign businesses looking predominantly to export their products to China, CIIE is the place to start.
Held in autumn annually since 2018 in Shanghai, CIIE is the world's first import-themed national-level exhibition. The trade fair grants foreign businesses one-stop-shop access to exporting their products to China and demonstrates the commitment to liberalizing China's market and fostering global trade partnerships, helping to transition China from an export-driven economy to an import and consumption-driven economy as well.
It has become an essential event for businesses vying for a foothold or expansion in the Chinese market.
Claire Shao, U.S. chief representative at Invest Shanghai, said, "After attending the Canton Fair and the CIIE, I believe you can make your own conclusion that China's door will not be closed, but will open wider and wider."
"China is clearly a very successful country, with great opportunities," said Bruhnke. "They don't want to be the United States. They want to be China, but able to do some of the things that the U.S. is doing so successfully."
"So, I expect that they'll continue learning, adjusting to the way the world does business, and migrating to strategies that allow them to be even more successful," he concluded.