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US firms optimistic about business in China
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China continues to be a strong focus for U.S. business investment both in the short and long term despite the country's current economic slowdown, AmCham-China President Michael Barbalas said.

"It is important to remember that China's economy continues growing, although at a slower pace than in the past, and that growth translates into opportunity for businesses," said the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham-China) in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

There were a number of reasons to remain very positive and optimistic about doing business in China, he said.

"For example, AmCham-China recently signed 10 strategic cooperative agreements with provinces and municipal governments throughout China. The landmark cooperation agreements support business growth and economic development in China, and promote bilateral investment and trade."

China's economic growth slowed to 9.9 percent in the first three quarters of 2008 after five years of double-digit growth. Foreign direct investment into the country fell 36.52 percent year-on-year to 5.32 billion U.S. dollars last month.

To avert an economic slump, the country has cut its lending rate four times since mid-September and unveiled a 4 trillion yuan (about 585 billion U.S. dollars) stimulus package to expand domestic demand.

"We are encouraged by China's economic stimulus package," said Barbalas. "We hope the government will continue building on this positive step by ensuring transparency and a level playing field for programs stemming from the stimulus package."

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2008)

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