Cooperation, innovation and creativity are keys to productive U.S.-Chinese relations. Further, there is compelling logic to St. Louis becoming the multi-state Midwestern Commercial Hub for China and other nations. These collaborative approaches were central themes that emerged from the half-day seminar and luncheon, entitled, "China Business 2008: Expanding Opportunities for U.S. Companies", presented by the RCGA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and BKD, LLP, on Thursday October 2 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.
The seminar featured a dinner meeting with and a luncheon keynote address by Minister Xie Feng, Deputy Chief of Mission for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. In addition, Ambassador Alan Holmer, from the U.S. Department of Treasury Strategic Economic Dialogue, spoke at the seminar about Chinese-U.S. trade policy and intellectual property protection. Expert panels described how to do business in China and identify resources in the St. Louis area to help businesses enter the Chinese markets.
Ambassador Holmer recalled Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan's recent mission to St. Louis on June 15th and 16th in connection with the proposal to create an air cargo hub and commercial center here to facilitate trade, investment and economic development between China and the U.S. Ambassador Holmer noted that St. Louis was the only location that the Vice Premier visited before flying to Washington, D.C. for discussions with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson. Ambassador Holmer also noted that the Vice Premier strongly endorsed the St. Louis "Big Idea", and told the story of how the Vice Premier, during his speech in Washington, talked about St. Louis as a base to expand in the U.S. Following briefings on the "St. Louis Big Idea" on his June visit, Vice Premier Wang Qishan addressed a luncheon of St. Louis business and governmental leaders on the proposal, noting, "I am the Midwest's #1 salesman, and it's time we turned our attention to St. Louis and the State of Missouri, and use the base here in St. Louis, to expand our openness to the Midwest of the United States, to open up further and promote economic links".
Ambassador Holmer concluded his remarks on Thursday by asking his audience to, "consider two alternative visions of the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
The first is a vision that is dark and problematic. It's a future of a superpower and a rising power on a collision course, increasingly suspicious of the other's intentions, scrambling in a zero-sum competition for resources and influence -- oblivious to the possibilities of mutual interest. It's a future in which we see each other through caricatures. This future portends a fragile relationship, which is cracked easily by unavoidable misunderstanding and accident.
The second vision is one in which our ability to work together matches the degree to which our economies are already so deeply integrated. In this future, I see leadership in each nation communicating well, growing in trust, working through misunderstanding and crises, and expanding --where possible -- common interests, while recognizing distinct national goals.
It's this second vision that we promote through the Strategic Economic Dialogue."