SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The national-level absence at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) is "absolutely" a loss to the United States, California state lawmaker Phil Ting said Thursday.
Ting, who was elected to the State Assembly in 2012, told Xinhua that the United States should have had a presence at the CIIE, although it is having trade disputes with China.
China is the third largest trade partner of the United States, and "it is very important (for the United States) to be there," said Ting, who returned from China last week after leading a trade delegation of California state to the CIIE, which was held from Nov. 5 to 10 in Shanghai.
"We were there to open up the California Bay Area Council pavilion. The Bay Area Council was there on behalf of the State of California," he said.
Ting said China is a key trading partner of the United States, particularly California, and the presence of a California pavilion is meant to send a signal to the Chinese people that California as a state wants to have a positive and strong relationship with Chinese counterpart.
"Many countries did have a pavilion, but unfortunately the United States did not," said Ting, chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion.
Ting underscored the importance of China to the U.S. economy and pointed out the negative impact of U.S.-China trade frictions on California, particularly the drop of exports to China.
Ting said he was impressed by the Shanghai expo, adding that "not everybody in the United States wants to have an antagonistic relationship with China."
A total of 181 countries, regions and international organizations attended this year's expo, and more than 3,800 enterprises participated in the exhibitions.
California wants to showcase that it remains open for business and committed to strengthening its economic ties with all trade partners, said Ting.
China is California's third largest export market. According to Ting's office, last year California was the only U.S. government entity to attend the first CIIE.
Ting said the Chinese market is "very, very large" and a lot of companies and businesses are trying to have access to it.
"There is a lot of interest, a lot of competition, and I think (it is) important that the United States does not lose sight of the future," he said.
Ting said U.S.-China trade disputes "should be negotiated and worked out. Having a tariff war is very costly and creates havoc with our economies."
"We should not forget what long term is, and I think the long-term goal is to have a very strong and positive trading relationship with this country," said Ting.