By CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes
The US expects a record number of deals to be signed at the 2017 Select USA Investment Summit in Maryland. While a record number of Chinese delegates were present this year, industry insiders noted that Chinese foreign investments in the US are growing up with challenges.
Last year Chinese foreign direct investors ploughed 46 billion US dollars into the US economy, where the Select USA Investment Summit has played an important part. The summit has brought Chinese investors face-to-face with officials from US states and cities seeking a further boost to economic development.
Jiaming Industry Group, for example, has been looking to buy under-utilized industrial sites in the US, renting out to other Chinese investors. Thanks to the summit, the company has found what they needed at the so-called “Rust-Belt” areas of the American mid-west.
And its Chief Operating Officer Jin Bochen was satisfied with the cost performance, because “the price of the properties, I can't say low, but it has potential value in it."
But there is also concern about potential challenges for the Chinese. A case in point is the Chinese maker of vehicle windscreens, Fuyao Glass, who is reportedly experiencing a so-called “culture clash” with American workers in its Dayton plant.
Therefore, one of the company's major customers, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra suggested during the summit that foreign investors need to be sensitive to local conditions.
Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, at the 2017 Select USA Investment Summit in Maryland, US, June 19, 2017. /VCG Photo
Jin agreed with Barra, adding that "most importantly we respect people's culture and then preserve our own culture. So they have to have this balance. If not, we might lose the expansion here."
That sense of commitment to the US market is also evident by the size of the Chinese delegation, numbering 155, the largest national delegation. But Chinese delegates are also closely monitoring political developments, with the US Congress now reviewing the criteria for limiting or rejecting foreign investments for what is believed to have negative impact on national security.
The annual Select USA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event to connect global companies and US economic development organizations (EDOs) to facilitate business investment in the US. Participants at the first three Investment Summits announced more than 20.6 billion US dollars in green-field foreign direct investments into the US between fiscal years 2014-2016.