China becomes important for growth of US businesses

Oct 07, 2011 12:00 AM

Despite some challenges, China is becoming increasingly important to the future growth of American companies doing business with China, said a US business expert in Chicago.
John Frisbie, the president of the US-China Business Council, made the remarks in his speech titled "Current Issues in US-China Trade", at the first session of "Focus on China Series" organized by Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

"China is the world's second largest economy and the third largest export market for the United States. It is growing faster than many other major destinations for American goods and services," Frisbie said.
Taking the state of Illinois as an example, the trade expert cited the extremely impressive growth rate of Illinois exports to China during his presentation. Illinois export to China has grown 496 % from 2000 to 2010, hitting 3.18 bn $ in 2010, while the export growth rate to the rest of world is only 51 %. As for Cook County where Chicago is located, the export growth rate to China is 332 % from 2000 to 2010 while the rate for the rest of the world is only 26 %.

In addition, he said that US companies are establishing roots in China as never before to sell to the Chinese market, which results in creating jobs at their US operations and bringing high-quality global standards and business practices to China.
Frisbie shared the US-China Business Council 2011 Survey on the operating environment in China for US companies. According to the survey, over 90 % American companies operating in China are optimistic or somewhat optimistic on the five-year outlook for business in China. The survey result also shows that China remains a top strategic priority in terms of its prominence in overall company strategy.

According to the annual survey, in 2011 about 73 % US companies will accelerate their resource commitment to China over the next 12 months, which have returned to pre-downtown expansion levels.
Regarding company objectives, the survey shows that the primary objective of 93 % companies investing in China is to access and serve the China market. In terms of profitability, about 85 % said that their companies' China operations are profitable while 88 % said that their expected 2011 revenue from China will increase.

On the other hand, the US trade expert added that "although it has resulted in economic benefits, the US-China trade relationship is not without its challenges".
According to him, the top challenge for US companies operating in China is talent recruitment and retention, according to the survey. Other challenges are administrative licensing, cost increase and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement, among others, he added.

Frisbie, who has been the president of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) since November 2004, has more than 25 years of experience in business and government relations with China, including nearly 10 years living and working in Beijing. Frisbie's China background includes joint venture negotiations, trade and investment consulting, policy analysis and advocacy, government relations, and media relations.
The session was moderated by Keith Williams, President and CEO at Underwriters Laboratories and Member of the Board of Directors at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the US-China Business Council.

Founded in 1922 as the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs is one of the oldest and most prominent international affairs organizations in the United States.
Independent and nonpartisan, The Chicago Council is committed to influencing the discourse on global issues through contributions to opinion and policy formation, leadership dialogue, and public learning.

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