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US firms upbeat on long-term benefits

He Wei and Shi Jing
Updated: Nov 9,2018 9:18 AM     China Daily

United States companies operating in China regard the country as a strategically important market and anticipate long-term growth despite the current trade frictions.

“Globalization and open trade are absolutely an unstoppable trend,” Matt Tsien, president of General Motors China, said on Nov 6 on the sidelines of the ongoing China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Tsien said that many industries, including the automobile sector, are very much reliant on global integration so that “globalization provides ultimately the best benefits for everyone”.

Stephen Badger, chairman of the board of directors of US food company Mars Inc, echoed the opening speech of the expo given by President Xi Jinping on supporting economic globalization, opening-up and inclusive development, saying these are “all principles that Mars stands by as well”.

“The expo is a platform that goes beyond China — it is a truly global event driving development across all Chinese industries by promoting cooperation among government and business entities as well as promoting globalization and trade liberalization,” Badger said.

Mars is among some 180 US enterprises participating in the world’s first import-themed exhibition held at a national level, and the company views the event as “an important signal for continued opening-up and a wonderful invitation for cross-border collaboration”.

“The occasional little storm won’t have a big impact on the long-term direction,” said Clay Nesler, vice-president of global energy and sustainability at Johnson Controls, a multinational company with extensive US holdings, that adopts technologies to make buildings safer, smarter and more sustainable.

Nesler said the company has long seen China as a long-term growth market, and the ongoing expo is an important signal that China wants to be open and can potentially create lots of opportunities for companies from around the world to participate in this growing market.

“When it comes to the many (bilateral) issues, as long as people work toward a better future, there is enough brain power and history of collaboration between companies, people and nations that I think we can overcome that,” Tsien said.

China has also become an integral part in the growth plans of many US businesses, not just because of its sheer size but also due to its strategic importance, according to Stephen Shafer, president of 3M China, a diversified manufacturer.

“China is actually becoming the leader in many markets and technologies that we are interested in,” said Shafer, referring to digital platforms in China that help companies engage with customers.

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