World Trade Center St. Louis hosted Growing Global 2019, "US-China Relations: The Next 40 Years."
The 2019 Growing Global “US-China: The Next 40 years” luncheon posed challenging questions to the attendees about what the future holds between the two nations’ commercial engagements. The event hosted 600 guests with business, civic and elected official backgrounds who received first-hand perspectives from the Growing Global panelists: Consul General Zhao Jian, the 11th Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago, Jacob Parker, Senior Vice President at the US-China Business Council (who served as moderator), and Dave Rank, Senior Advisor at The Cohen Group.
Interim Chief Executive Officer of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Rodney Crim, took part in welcoming attendees.
“The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is proud to be the economic development team working to attract, retain and facilitate business growth in St. Louis City and County,” Crim said. “All of this is truly collective work – within the Partnership divisions and with many of the organizations here today.”
To start the panel discussion, Parker posed the issue of trade conflicts between the U.S. and China.
“What began as an issue of trade deficit raised by President Trump and the administration has evolved to cover a number of friction points in the relationship – market access, level playing field, IPR protection, and forced technology transfer,” Parker said. “Today, as the U.S. and China engage with each other to try and work through these very difficult issues, we’ve come to a point where we have some dates on the horizon where we can meet and discuss. But there is some uncertainty about how this will be resolved.”
Consul General Zhao agreed that the conflict exists but hopes it comes to a conclusion.
“We are very important trading partners to each other (The U.S. and China),” Consul General Zhao said. “This relationship has brought great benefits to our two peoples. They have benefited from close economic and cultural trade, and people-to-people links. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the relationship with the United States. We hope that there will be continued growth of this relationship in trade, economy, cooperation, casual and education exchanges, and people-to-people links because we know that it is in the interest of our two peoples.”
Dave Rank, who has lived in Beijing working in leadership at the US embassy believes communication is key.
“At this point, looking at how the Unites States and China talk to each other… what’s the narrative of how the two largest, most important countries in the world communicate with each other?” Rank asked. “That is a real challenge. We have big economic frictions between us even though there’s a lot of potential for cooperation. We have different systems politically that fundamentally are hard to reconcile. To some degree, I think it’s going to have to come from recognition on issues like climate change or proliferation of weapon of mass destruction and other global issues that we share. We are both status-quo powers. We have an interest in the world continuing to operate in a regular, predictable way.”
Ultimately, the panelists said they hope for continued commercial and diplomatic relations between the US and China that will continue for the good of the consumer and businesses alike.
“St. Louis has a long, rich history of pioneering relationships with China – from people-to-people, to trade and investment,” Tim Nowak, Executive Director at World Trade Center St. Louis, said. “St. Louis was the first U.S. city to establish a sister-city with the People’s Republic of China. 2019 marks the 40-year anniversary of the St. Louis – Nanjing, China relationship. The relationship was initiated by then St. Louis Mayor, Jim Conway. The connections over the years include many successful academic, cultural and business exchanges.”
Before the luncheon adjourned, KMOX radio anchor Debbie Monterrey awarded Emerson, a manufacturer of electric motors and fans with over 200 facilities across the globe, the World Trade Center Global Ambassador award.
“As the Chinese economy has grown, so has Emerson’s presence and success in China through sales, manufacturing, and their innovation and solution centers, to serve the unique needs of the China market,” Monterrey said. “Through its global pioneering leadership, Emerson has enhanced the image and exposure of St. Louis on an international scale.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Emerson’s entrance in the Chinese market.
“Emerson is proud to be a global manufacturing company that calls St. Louis home, and we look forward to continuing our work to help customers around the world solve their complex business challenges,” said Steve Pelch, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Emerson. “We thank the World Trade Center St. Louis for their support and ongoing efforts to promote the prosperity of our region through international business growth.”