US companies positive on long-term opportunities in China
American companies take a long-term view of the relationship and they generally have a positive view about the opportunities here in China, said Matthew Margulies, vice-president of the US-China Business Council China Operations, in Shanghai on Thursday.
"Despite the near-term frictions, they are committed to being here and selling to the China market. Our companies are in China to serve China, so I think participation in this conference (CIIE) really underscores that point," Margulies said.
The second CIIE reinforced the commitment that China is not going to be closing its door to the foreign investment and it is going to open the door wider. That's the message the US-China Business Council strongly support, Margulies added.
The CIIE provides an opportunity for the US companies to do business for transactions to occur at the micro-level and engage with regulators and important stakeholders from the government all at one time at the macro-level.
"There are still opportunities for cooperation. Life science and healthcare are areas our companies are very optimistic about, and consumer goods as well. All of the US companies are still committed to being here and they are not shifting operations outside of China," Margulies said.
Dow Wilson, president and CEO of Varian Medical Systems, an American company launched in Palo Alto in 1948, expressed his full confidence in China's development after attending the opening ceremony of the second CIIE, reinforcing China's commitment on open world economy and shared opportunities.
"I am also deeply encouraged, especially under the current global environment full of uncertainties. President Xi's remarks sent a very positive and stable signal, which definitely further built up our confidence as a multinational company. We now have a more positive outlook in China's economic development and market potentials," Wilson said.
Chinese market is also essential for California-headquartered Agilent Technologies, which was previously part of Hewlett Packard and is now becoming a listed company focusing on life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemistry markets.
The Silicon Valley company entered China nearly 40 years ago and the Chinese market accounted for about 22 percent of the company's global market share in 2018 financial year, said Victor Chan, VP and Laboratory Solutions Greater China general manager of Agilent Technologies.
The company is committed to long-term development in China and to cooperate with Chinese business partners to help people lead a better life in the new era for shared future, which coincides with the theme of this year's CIIE and China's high-quality development, Chan said.
Margulies, who has been working on China-US trade relations for 10 years, said more large US companies are participating in this year's CIIE and the exhibition area has also increased compared to last year. An important reason behind this is the improving business environment in China, he said.
The ease of market access for foreign companies has improved for certain industries and IP protection has also expanded in some areas. China's commitment to high-quality development especially in food safety and food products has also been very impressive, Margulies said.
He also highlighted China's improvement in governance transparency for some public commenting process for companies to participate in China's policy development and allowing companies an opportunity to comment on China's laws and regulations.
Margulies, who was previously based in Washington, said the holding of the second CIIE is of great significance at the background of China-US frictions as it shows China's determination to further open up its market by increasing import.
The trade deficit should not be the sole metric for measuring the relationship and the US government should focus more on structural issues as the two countries have different economic models, according to Margulies.
Margulies said he is still optimistic that both governments want to reach a deal and a phase one deal will help to put a floor under the relationship.