Sitting atop a Harley Davidson motorcycle in a franchise store in Beijing, visiting US under secretary for international trade, Franklin L. Lavin, said he'd like to have one of machines himself someday.
Lavin described himself as a great fan of the motorcycle but said being a government employee he could hardly afford one. He stopped in the motorbike store while on a five-day working visit to China that ends today.
Referring to counterfeiting in China, Lavin told reporters in the motorbike shop that the Chinese government was taking many effective measures on the subject of intellectual property rights (IPR) this year and "we are working closely" to resolve the issue.
He said there was increasing recognition in China that to develop a strong company one needed to depend on IPR and reaffirmed Washington's willingness to cooperate with China in tackling infringements.
Prior to his trip to Beijing, Lavin visited the business hub of Shanghai and predicted that China was set to overtake Japan this year as America's third-largest export market. According to Lavin, US exports to China grew 36.6 percent in the first five months of the year over the same period in 2005.
Lavin said he had two missions in China on this occasion: to hold policy discussions with different ministry officials and to help promote the business of US companies in China.
Addressing two potential mergers between US businesses and Chinese companies Lavin said all the decisions were up to the Chinese government. The two cases are US financial giant Citibank's bid for a Chinese bank and the US-based Carlyle Group's agreement to purchase an 85 percent stake in state-owned Xuzhou Construction Machinery Co Ltd.
Himself a former senior manager in Citibank, Lavin noted that the two US firms had made a significant contribution to Chinese economic development.
Lavin impressed reporters with his fluent Chinese and his knowledge of oriental culture, which he attributed to years of working in Asia and his university diploma.
Knowing Chinese, he said, would surely help him better understand the other half of the world and allow him to comprehend a great civilization. Arrangements had been made for his daughter to stay with a family in Beijing and he expected her to act as "a little diplomat."
(China Daily July 31, 2006)