Lai Meisong (2nd R), founder and chairman of China's ZTO Express, poses after ringing opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, Oct. 27, 2016. China's ZTO Express started trading under the ticker symbol "ZTO" at the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, after raising over 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in its initial public offering - the largest one in the U.S. so far this year. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Bilateral trade and investment remain a source of stability for China-U.S. relationship, and are worth great attention by both sides, John Frisbie, President of the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) told Xinhua in a recent interview.
Bilateral trade surged from 2.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to 519.6 billion dollars in 2016, an increase of 211 times, data from China's Commerce Ministry showed. Bilateral investment also witnessed similar booming increases over the past 38 years. By the end of 2016, bilateral investment accumulated over 170 billion U.S. dollars.
"Top-level communication is necessary to manage the large and complex U.S.-China relationship," said Frisbie.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump held a lengthy and "extremely cordial" phone conversation last Thursday on numerous topics, during which they agreed that the two sides would engage in discussions on various issues of mutual interest.
"The U.S.-China Business Council is pleased the two presidents spoke by telephone regarding a range of issues in the relationship," Frisbie said. The call was the first between the leaders of the top two economies in the world since Trump's inauguration in late January.
According to a report released by the USCBC, U.S. is expected to export 525 billion dollars of goods and exports to China by 2030, with its share in total U.S. exports rising to 10 percent from current 7.3 percent, reflecting the enormous size of China's market and faster growth of middle class consumers.
Frisbie said at the launch of the report that the negative impact of trade with China, which was widely discussed during last year's U.S. presidential campaign, failed to provide a balanced assessment that incorporates the positive effect of the commercial relationship with China.
"The trade and investment relationship needs attention, to ensure it remains a source of stability for the overall relationship," Frisbie told Xinhua.
The USCBC report showed that the U.S.-China trade relationship actually supports roughly 2.6 million jobs in U.S. across a range of industries, including jobs that Chinese companies have created in U.S.
As China's middle class consumers continues its rapid expansion over the next decade, whose number will exceed the entire U.S. population by 2026, U.S. companies are facing significant opportunities to tap into this new and lucrative customer base that can further boost employment and economic growth, said the report.
American companies hope China can move forward with reforms and openings that will create positive momentum for both sides, Frisbie told Xinhua.
Despite slower Chinese economic growth and more fierce competition from Chinese companies, 90 percent of American companies that are doing business in China remain profitable, and 72 percent are optimistic about their business outlook in China, a separate USCBC survey report showed.
Most American companies continue to see China as their priority market, and expected China and U.S. could reach a high-standard bilateral investment treaty to address concerns of business communities from the both sides.