THOMAS J. DONOHUE
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
December 4, 2018
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for coming.
We are honored to be joined by our partners in China, CCIEE, and this distinguished group of business leaders from both sides.
This is the 11th meeting of the U.S.-China CEO Dialogue—and it couldn’t be more timely.
We were all glad to see President Trump and President Xi agree to deescalate the trade war and return to the negotiating table during their meeting at the G-20 over the weekend.
Deferring the significant tariff hike that was set to take effect on January 1 will prevent further harm on our economies and our workers.
And it will give our leaders the opportunity to reengage on the key challenges in our relationship.
It is imperative that we now come together, seize this moment, and capitalize on the positive exchange between our presidents.
Our challenge is to make sure that this is not just a fleeting moment, but instead an inflection point—and one that puts us on the path to enduring progress.
Along with de-escalation, we must meaningfully address the long-simmering tensions that led to the trade war in the first place.
Despite the obvious benefits and potential of the U.S.-China relationship, the United States has legitimate concerns regarding a range of Chinese government policies and practices.
Subsidies, market access restrictions, forced technology transfer and IP rights violations, and restrictions on digital trade are straining the global trading system and imposing significant costs on the United States and other economies.
These practices undermine the global rules based trading system—a system that China went to extraordinary lengths to join—which is built on the notion that everyone should have a chance to compete and win on a level playing field.
The United States wants to see permanent solutions that address these problems.
I know that the Chinese have their own set of concerns they would like to see addressed in a comprehensive agreement, and we look forward to hearing more about those during this Dialogue.
We’re going to use our time together to speak candidly, work constructively, and make the most of this moment.
This is a great opportunity for meaningful change. And we must act with urgency.
Expectations are high—and so are the stakes.
So working within the framework that was just announced, we must redouble efforts to help our governments reach real consensus, pursue enduring solutions, and reestablish stability in the bilateral relationship—and the global economy.
We look forward to this Dialogue, engaging our Chinese counterparts, and devising solutions to challenges that will benefit both sides.
Thank you very much.
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