U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke highlights increasingly interdependent U.S.-China economic relationship at AmCham Shanghai event

Locke meets with top American business leaders and Shanghai officials at AmCham Shanghai Government Appreciation Dinner

Dec 06, 2012, 08:46 ET from AmCham Shanghai

SHANGHAI, Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a speech to more than 450 U.S. and Chinese businesspeople and government officials, U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke highlighted the increasingly interdependent economic relationship between the United States and China and the importance placed on the relationship by the Obama Administration.

"Getting the U.S.-China relationship right is a long-term effort and we will continue to make this a priority in President Obama's second term and as China's new leadership comes into office."

Continued Locke, "One simply cannot overestimate the importance of the U.S.-China economic relationship. More than a billion dollars of goods and services flow between our two countries every single day, compared to 100 million per year when President Nixon first came to China 40 years ago. Over 800,000 American jobs depend on producing goods and services sold to China. And over a million Chinese jobs are anchored by trade with the United States."

Locke also toured the AmCham Shanghai Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Center, launched on November 6 to support the competitiveness of American SMEs in China. He later met privately with AmCham Shanghai president Brenda Foster, Board Chair Kenneth Jarrett, U.S. company executives and Shanghai Vice Mayor Ai Baojun, to discuss the business climate for U.S. companies in Shanghai. During the meeting, Locked highlighted important progress made on streamlining the U.S. visa process. Now, visa applicants can get an appointment within two to four days at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, a huge improvement from an average of 70 days in 2010.

During an interview with Insight, the Chamber's monthly magazine, Locke commented, "AmCham Shanghai plays a very critical part in the expanding ties between the U.S. and China. I'm pleased to see that your plans for a SME Center have become a reality." Continued Locke, "I know that this will provide expanded commercial opportunities for a critical segment of U.S. companies doing business in China."

The Twelfth Annual Government Appreciation Dinner, held at the Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Center, celebrated the long-standing partnership between the U.S. business community, the U.S. government and the Shanghai Municipal Government which has greatly contributed to the rapid development of Shanghai, China's commercial, industrial and financial capital. The Ambassador highlighted the important role Shanghai plays hosting U.S. foreign direct investment in China stating that U.S. investment in the city has reached almost 15 billion dollars.

Finally, Ambassador Locke underlined an important new trend in the U.S. China economic relationship – Chinese FDI into the U.S. stating that, "We welcome Chinese investment in the United States with open arms."

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Locke expressed appreciation for the participation of Shanghai Vice Mayor Ai who attended the event representing Mayor Han Zheng. "We look forward to working with the new leadership in the city and building on the long-standing cooperation between Shanghai, AmCham and the U.S. Consulate," said Locke.

In a speech to attendees, Vice Mayor Ai remarked on the important economic and trade relationship Shanghai maintains with the U.S. highlighting that by the end of 2011, U.S. companies had accumulatively invested in 6,940 projects in Shanghai.

Vice Mayor Ai also reiterated Shanghai's commitment to fostering an investment environment that welcomes foreign businesses in the city through strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property protection, treating companies of all types equally by delinking indigenous innovation with government procurement, further improving the medical and educational conditions to meet the requirements of expatriates in Shanghai, and improving the city's environment for better living.

About AmCham Shanghai

The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, known as the "Voice of American Business" in China, is the largest and fastest growing American Chamber in the Asia-Pacific region. Founded in 1915, AmCham Shanghai was the third American Chamber established outside the United States. 

As a non-profit, non-partisan business organization, AmCham Shanghai is committed to the principles of free trade, open markets, private enterprise and the unrestricted flow of information. 

Visit www.amcham-shanghai.org for more information about AmCham Shanghai.

SOURCE AmCham Shanghai