Remarks During Visit to the Boeing Maintenance Facility at the Shanghai Airport
Secretary of State
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For trade to work in any economy, and for it to produce the benefits we know that it can, there must be a level playing field where domestic and international companies can compete freely and openly. For example, transparency in rule making and standard setting, non-discrimination, fair access to sales to private sector and government purchasers alike, the strong enforcement of intellectual property rights, these are all vitally important in the 21st century global economy. That’s what drives innovation, benefits consumers, and ultimately stimulates broad-based and sustainable growth. American companies want to compete in China. They want to sell goods made by American workers to Chinese consumers with rising incomes and increasing demand. We are seeking a win-win situation for our two countries.
That's why, in the coming days, officials at the highest levels of our two governments will be discussing issues of economic balance and competition. Now, the good news is that we have seen progress. U.S. merchandise exports to China have more than tripled since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. And in the first quarter of this year, merchandise exports were up 46 percent over the first quarter of last year. That’s a trend that we want to work together to see continue.
Aerospace is the United States’ leading export industry. And every $1 billion in aviation sales translates into 11,000 American jobs. Many of these are high-paying, skilled positions that will help our economy to return to sustainable growth.
Boeing is a company with deep roots in China. Its very first engineer, hired in 1916, was Chinese. And the company established a presence here in the 1930s. Today, more than half of the commercial jetliners operating in China are made by Boeing, and Boeing has orders for 450 airplanes destined for China. The growth of air travel in China will create new jobs here and abroad, which is why President Hu Jintao has rightly called Boeing's role in China a “win-win” for both countries.
Now, Boeing is an example of how exports from a large American corporation can benefit both of our countries. There are also hundreds of small and medium-sized American firms in other industries that also illustrate this point. Echelon Corporation is based in San Jose, California, and has about 350 employees. I often speak about the importance of smart power to our diplomacy. Well, Echelon specializes in a different kind of smart power; it is a world leader in developing networking devices and control systems that support smart electrical grids and other ways of improving efficiency. The technologies that Echelon is exporting to China help reduce water usage and greenhouse gas emissions, which is also good news for both China and the United States.
Chindex, a publically-traded American company, focuses exclusively on China’s healthcare markets. They operate numerous hospitals in and around Beijing, Shanghai, and they're working to open another clinic with the goal of providing access to high-quality healthcare in Pudong. Good healthcare for China, good jobs in America, both our countries and our people are better off.
Now, every one of you in this audience could probably tell a similar story. We have so much cooperation between American and Chinese businesses. We have cooperation that includes our soybean, cotton, and corn farmers, our universities that educate Chinese students and, increasingly, American students who come here.
So, we believe that cooperation is key to the future for the United States and China. And I want to thank all of you for helping to make these partnerships possible, and ask you to work with us to continue working toward a better future for the people of the United States and China. Thank you all very much.
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