by Gao Pan, Jin Minmin
WASHINGTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- A group of prominent entrepreneurs from China and the United States pledged Tuesday to boost bilateral trade and investment and tap the tremendous potential of China-U.S. economic cooperation.
"Having grown out of a trade denominated bilateral relationship over the past decades, we see enormous potential for the two countries to benefit from a more comprehensive (economic) cooperation," said Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of the U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group, in a joint statement released after co-chairing the inaugural China-U.S. Business Leaders Summit held at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
During the one-day summit, 20 prominent CEOs from China and the United States held in-depth discussions for further cooperation in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, energy, retailing, finance, pharmaceuticals and technology.
"We commit to encouraging continued investment between our two countries, as well as cooperation on joint investment in global markets and specific topics such as manufacturing, U.S. infrastructure, environmental protection and the Belt and Road Initiative," the statement said.
The group also committed to increasing bilateral trade, including the export of agricultural products, liquefied natural gas, and high quality consumer goods from the United States to China, according to the statement.
As some of the largest employers from both sides and key players in the global economy, these top companies agreed to establish the dialogue as an annual one for the purpose of offering both governments solutions to the challenges facing the China-U.S. economic relationship.
"We call on political leaders in the United States and China to strengthen cooperation and dialogues on regulation and supervision, (establishment of) standards, protection of intellectual property rights, free, fair and open market access and to eliminate procedures and practices that act as a hindrance to economic growth and job creation," the statement said, noting a stable China-U.S. economic relationship is beneficial to the two countries and to the world as a whole.
The business leaders summit comes one day before the first round of China-U.S. Comprehensive Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C., one of the four major dialogue mechanisms which were all established by both governments in April.
During the upcoming dialogue to be co-chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, the two sides will exchange views on economic and trade issues of common concern.
As China is rebalancing its economy toward a services- and consumption- led model, Wang believes that there is more complementarity than competition between the world's two largest economies.
"The two countries have seen the space for cooperation expanded rather than narrowed," Wang told representatives from the U.S. and Chinese business community on Tuesday, noting cooperation is "the only right choice" for the United States and China.
During the summit, Ma also urged the U.S. and Chinese business leaders to "see the big vision" of China-U.S. relations and "seize the future" to expand bilateral cooperation.
"Our relationship today reflects a deep business partnership where capital, people, and ideas are fully integrated. In the future, I believe we will not talk about products being made in your country or mine, but rather on the internet," Ma said, adding no one could stop globalization and the two countries should not "let problems of the past limit our future potential."
"We're here to solve future problems, not to solve yesterday's problems. We should not punish our tomorrow because of yesterday's problems," he said.
The inaugural China-U.S. Business Leaders Summit was one of the two proposals that Ma put forward in a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in January, according to Ma.
The other was to hold a small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) summit, which took place in the U.S. city of Detroit last month, in a bid to help small U.S. businesses sell products to China through e-commerce platforms.
The members of the China-U.S. Business Leaders Summit include Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Cao Dewang, Chairman of the world's top automotive glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass and Zhang Jindong, Chairman of Chinese electronic retailer Suning Holding Group.