Washington builds walls, California builds bridges
Updated 17:51, 07-Nov-2019
World Insight with Tian Wei

The Second China International Import Expo (CIIE) opened on November 5, offering a window for the world with a fast-growing Chinese market. Besides cooperation on the federal level, sub-national cooperation lays an important foundation for cross-border trade.

At the Shanghai expo, politicians and business leaders from the U.S. state of California are trying to take matters into their own hands. CGTN Senior Correspondent Tian Wei sat down with Phil Ting, California State Assembly Member, who leads the Californian delegation at this year's Expo with a clear message: While Washington puts up a wall, California is building bridges between China and the U.S.

"In Washington right now, there are certain efforts to build walls. In California, we build bridges. We continue to welcome not just people from around the country, but people from around the world to come to California. We have a pavilion at the Expo because we want to send a strong message to our friends in China that we continue to have a strong relationship." said Phil Ting.

California, which accounts for one-eighth of American GDP, has been hit hard by the cooling trade relations between Beijing and Washington. The ripple effects reverberate throughout the state economy in a myriad of ways. 

"Our import and export have significantly gone down, the trade war is impacting our port, agricultural, and manufacturing businesses. It has been very bad for California," said Phil Ting, who admitted it's a challenge. But while China remains California's largest trading partner, its presence at the Expo seeks to boost trade by bringing together like-minded business leaders from both sides of the Pacific. "We are very focused on what we can do positively as a state. That's why we are here at the Expo, to make sure our friends in China know that we continue to have a very strong relationship." Phil Ting added.

As two countries are working towards a "phase one" trade agreement, the question confounding some politicians and business leaders is: If the "wall" is getting built, how to tear it down?

"The state is suing the president on that issue. We have a democratic congress that continues to fight every day to make sure that the wall does not get built. We have an election coming up next year, so that Americans get to make statements about whether they want to continue the disastrous policies of the last two and half years, or they want to go in a different direction." Phil Ting told CGTN.

The economic instability brought on by the trade war is here, but Phil Ting says he is optimistic about the China-U.S. trade negotiations. A trade agreement will finalize if two reasonable parties come to the negotiation table with real interests and compromises, stressing that it's time to take a step forward and make rational choices.

World Insight with Tian Wei is an international platform for debate and intelligent discussion. It is the meeting point of both the highly influential and rising voices, facilitated by host, Tian Wei. It provides nutrition to form your own thoughts and ideas through 45-minute live debate and interviews.

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