China-U.S. Sign Bilateral Deals Worth US$3.4 Billion

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By Sofia Liska

Jun. 26 – At the U.S.-China Cities Forum on Economic Cooperation and Investment held in Nanjing this past weekend, companies from the United States and China signed investment contracts worth roughly US$3.4 billion on a total of 42 projects spread across 21 sectors – including manufacturing, electronics, energy conservation, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.

While the majority of the new investment projects are reportedly stemming from U.S. businesses, China’s Ministry of Finance has reported that investments by four Chinese firms worth roughly US$70 million were included in the total.

“Although the current stock of Chinese investments in the U.S. only adds up to US$6 billion, we see the potential for a significant increase in that amount,” said Steven Olson, executive director of SelectUSA, a program under the Department of Commerce aimed at attracting overseas investment.

Expansion by Chinese companies, much like Japanese giants including Honda and Toyota, will likely create numerous jobs across the United States. However, opponents of increased Chinese investment into the United States worry about jobs being outsourced and possible threats to U.S. national interests should Chinese companies acquire assets in sensitive sectors.

“Local governments in the U.S. are eager to attract investment from China to revitalize the economy, so Chinese companies can strengthen cooperation with them to break through investment barriers such as national security concerns set by the U.S. federal government,” Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times. “The U.S. economy is slightly recovering, and Chinese companies can get good return on investment in sectors such as agriculture, especially if the products of the sector are sold in the Chinese market.”

China is increasing investments into the United States more rapidly than any other country. Between 2005 and 2010, the average annual rate of direct investment grew by 53 percent. The Ministry of Commerce named China the fifth-largest global investor in 2010. However, while investment growth in the United States increased by 44 percent, Europe saw Chinese investment increase by 101 percent and Japan saw growth of 302 percent.

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