By Lou Frey
I have recently returned from a trip to China sponsored by the
China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF) and the China
Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC).
The recent 11-day trip included meetings with
* Chinese businessmen
* the Chinese Institute for International Studies (Dr. Liu Youfa -
* the Deputy Governor of the Peoples Bank of China (Dr. Zhu Min),
* students at Qinghua, Xi’an International Studies and Shanghai
* the Ministry of Commerce (Wang Chao, Assistant Minister)
* the National Peoples Congress Standing Committee (Lu Yongxiang -
* the American Chamber of Commerce in China
* the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Vice Minister Cui Tiankai)
* the Deputy Mayor of Xi’an (Qian Yinan),
* leaders of the Xi’an Hi-Tech Park
* various hi-tech companies, including Applied Material (Gong Zou,
* the Shanghai People’s Political Consultative Conference (Wang
Xinkui – Vice Chairman)
and tours of various business enterprises and infrastructure.
Let me summarize the highlights of what I found. Despite the poor economy worldwide, China’s economy will grow at least at a 7 percent rate in 2010. The U.S. trade deficit with China reached $268 billion in 2008. According
to the U.S. Treasury, China held $764 billion in U.S. Treasurysecurities as of April 2009, making it the largest foreign holder of such securities. As of 2010, Japan is replacing China as the number one holder of U.S. Treasury securities.
U.S. imports from China accounted for 16.1 percent of overall U.S. imports in 2008. China is now one of the most
important markets for U.S. exports, totaling $71.5 billion in 2008. One of the most important U.S. exports is agriculture products, which reached $12.2 billion in 2009. China is our fourth largest agriculture export market.
The hi-tech park at Xi’an is one of the six best in the world and has over 250,000 people working there. It has residential high rises, green space and parks, and many office buildings. It began in March, 1991, with 50,000 employees engaged in research and development. American companies are part of the Park, including Applied
Materials, which has invested over $250 million establishing a semi-conductor testing base. There are 3,000 graduates majoring in computers and more than 20,000 people working in the software industry.
The Chinese anticipate the Park will double in size within five years.
China has indicated it wants to build 147 nuclear plants which, when finished, will provide 8 percent of China’s power requirements. Geographically, China is the size of the United States, but has 10 percentarable land. Through modernized agriculture, China is able to meet many of its food requirements, although it also imports significant amounts of agricultural products.
China already has more cell phones than the United States. China has joint ventures with seven automobile companies and owns two automobile manufacturing companies outright.
The car of choice appears to be a Buick, which is produced by one of the joint ventures. General Motors has indicated that their hope for survival rests on selling cars in China. China has a low rate of car ownership, about 35 cars per thousand, although big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are clogged with traffic. By way of comparison, the U.S. has
439 per thousand and Brazil has 100 per thousand. The number of Chinese households with an annual income of more than 60,000 Yuan ($8,790.00), a level deemed sufficient for a family to buy a no frills car, is
estimated to double over the next four years to 65.6 million.
Lou Frey, Jr., was a Member of Congress (FL ’69-’79); is Past President, Former
Members of Congress, and is a partnerwithLowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A., Orlando,