The first Sino-US business travel joint venture was set up by the China International Travel Service and American Express in Beijing a week ago.
The joint venture is the latest example of the boom in China-US trade and economic cooperation. It will provide business travelers with services such as arranging visas, reserving and ticketing international and domestic flights, making hotel reservations and organizing convention services.
Close Ties and New Opportunities
US investment is an important factor behind a new wave of overseas investment fever in China. The two countries have become closely connected by their trade and economic relations as well as their diplomatic ties over the past 20 years.
China's entry into the World Trade Organization has opened new opportunities for trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, and the impending working visit to China by US President George W. Bush will help further enhance China-US relations as well as their trade and economic cooperation, analysts say.
As the largest developing country and the largest developed country respectively in the Asia-Pacific region, China and the United States are highly complementary in their economies, and have great potential in trade and economic cooperation.
Huge Investment in China by the US
Trade and economic relations have become important factors in China-US relations since the two countries signed a bilateral trade development pact in July 1979, analysts say.
Chinese statistics show that more than 300 of the top 500 US companies have invested in China. There were over 33,000 US invested projects in China in 2001, with the contractual US investment amounting to US$67.8 billion and realized US investment of US$35 billion.
The United States has been the largest source of realized foreign investment in China over the past three years, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC). US investments have been made in major Chinese industries, such as machinery, metallurgy, oil, electronics, telecommunications, chemicals, textiles, light industry, foodstuffs, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, environmental protection, finance and insurance.
Increasing Trade Volume
From 1979 to 2001, China-US trade volume reached about US$600 billion. Last year China-US trade amounted to US$80.5 billion, 30 times more than in 1979, when China and the United States established official diplomatic relations.
Currently, the United States is China's second largest trading partner while China is the fourth largest trading partner of the United States. China's exports to the United States are mainly footwear, garments, toys, automatic data processing equipment, machinery, electronic products and hi-tech products. US exports to China are mainly aircraft, fertilizer, power station equipment, electronic products, chemical products and machinery.
Top-level Contacts Maintained
China and the United States have maintained top-level close contact over the past few years with Chinese President Jiang Zemin visiting the United States and former US President Bill Clinton visiting China. President Jiang and President Bush also met last October in Shanghai.
"Top leaders of the two countries have made correct decisions from a strategic point of view and have helped China-US relations grow steadily," said a leading official of the MOFTEC in an interview with Xinhua. "They have also created a favorable environment for the healthy development of China-US economic relations and trade."
Healthy development of China-US relations, the economic relations and trade as well, is of great importance to both China and the United States, and to world peace and stability, said the official.
Biggest Trade Obstacle Removed
As the world economy has markedly slowed down, China's economy is still growing steadily. An increase in trade and economic cooperation between China and the United States would mean more business opportunities and more common interests, analysts say, adding that stronger economic relations and trade would mean stronger China-US relations.
Now that the permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) issue is resolved, analysts say, the biggest obstacle to China-US economic relations and trade has been cleared, paving the way for a better and healthy growth of economic and trade relations between the two countries, said the MOFTEC official.
"If we look back at history, we will see that the current level of economic relations and trade between our two countries is hard won and deserves our greatest attention," said the official. "We hope that the two sides will continue to clear any obstacles and work for a better environment for the growth of China-US economic relations and trade."
(People's Daily February 5, 2002)