Remarks
Reta Jo Lewis
Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Washington, DC
December 7, 2011


Date: 12/07/2011 Description: U.S.-China Business Council Chair and Coca-Cola Co. Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent greets Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, and Special Representative Lewis  [Photo Credit: Sardari.com, US-China Business Council]
Good evening and welcome. I want to thank all of you for participating in this invaluable discussion and for joining us here this evening in Washington, DC.

I specifically want to thank U.S. – China Business Council President John Frisbie; Chair Muhtar Kent, Board Chairman and CEO of The Coco-Cola Company; and the council as a whole for the opportunity to showcase how subnational engagement is strengthening our bilateral ties with China.

In addition, I would like to thank Governor Bob McDonnell of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Governor Jack Markell of the State of Delaware for participating in this session, as well as for their commitment to Secretary Clinton’s vision of 21st Century Statecraft.

Secretary Clinton has said time-and-time again that leaders the world over grapple with the same issues. U.S. Governors and Chinese governors constantly work on creating better business environments to make their respective states and territories more competitive on a global business level.

Subnational leaders across cultures are also constantly looking for ways to improve sustainability, health, and educational standards within their states and provinces. This dialogue is an excellent venue for U.S. business and elected leaders to discuss these issues.

Since January’s MOU signing between Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Jiechi that created the U.S.-China Governors Forum, we have truly witnessed history in the making.

We saw the benefits of this collaboration through the numerous agreements and MOUs signed three months ago between U.S. States and Chinese provinces in Salt Lake City at the inaugural U.S.-China Governors Forum, as well as through the agreements signed during the reciprocal visit of U.S. governors to China in October.

An essential component of Secretary Clinton’s 21st century statecraft is creating partnerships. These partnerships are taking many forms including partnering with organizations like this council.

From a state leader’s perspective, the trade, economic, commercial, and business relationships between the United States and China are of the foremost concern. They are the cornerstone issues for our U.S. Governors and Chinese provincial leaders and one of the driving reasons why the U.S. – China Governors Forum was created.

I hope that all of you here will continue your diligence to strengthen our subnational engagement with China. Again, I want to thank the U.S. – China Business Council for hosting this panel. We look forward to working with leaders like you as we continue to broaden and deepen the U.S.–China bilateral relationship.