Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed Silicon Valley’s titans, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and billionaire investor Warren Buffet, in a closed-door conference in Wednesday.
At the event with America and China’s top business leaders, Xi vowed to work to remove barriers to foreign investment and improve intellectual property protections in a bid to crack down on his country’s rip-offs of US products.
But among those missing from the event was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In fact, representatives from the social media giant, Twitter and Google were all notably missing and it is telling that China currently blocks those companies’ websites.
But, top executives from Honeywell, Boeing, Cisco Systems, IBM, Starbucks, as well as Chinese firms Alibaba, Lenovo and Baidu, were in attendance.
Xi’s’s conference with business leaders in Seattle was part of a busy day as he also toured a Boeing production facility in Everett, a high school in Tacoma and the sprawling Microsoft campus in Redmond later that day.
It was during his tour of the software giants headquarters that Xi eventually came face to face with Zuckerberg, who was pictured smiling as the pair enjoyed a brief chat.
Protesters against Xi and supporters holding signs in English and Chinese lined the streets outside Microsoft’s Redmond campus and also waited outside the high school.
At the closed-door discussion, moderated by former US Treasury Secretary Henry Poulson, Xi addressed around 30 executives, including Apple CEO Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Jack Ma of Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.
Through an interpreter, Xi acknowledged difficulties as China shifts its economy from one driven by exports to one driven by a growing middle class, but insisted China’s economy will maintain a ‘steady medium and high speed of growth for a long time.’
He said: ‘China will open up still wider to the outside world. Without reform, there will be no driving force; without opening up, there will be no progress.
‘There is good news and I believe there will be more good news in the future.’
He added China will ‘stand firm’ to protect intellectual property rights.
Xi attributed the Chinese economy’s recent slowdown to three factors: world economic problems, proactive Chinese efforts at regulation and ‘protracted structural problems’ in China.
A big item of concern for the American CEOs is a treaty that would provide a framework for broader investment in the economy of each nation.
All of the American CEOs participating in the forum, organized by the Paulson Institute, signed a letter to Xi and President Barack Obama urging them to support such a treaty.
They heard encouraging words from Xi on the topic Wednesday.
‘Once concluded, the treaty will further ease market access and put in place more open and transparent market rules,’ he said.
Bilateral investment treaties provide rules for companies doing business in other countries. The agreements can help ensure the rights of foreign investors are protected and that foreign companies operate on a level playing field with domestic ones.
An agreement with China could open up more of that nation’s massive market to American companies, provide clearer rules for Chinese investment in the US, and create jobs in both countries, supporters say.
‘The reason that the U.S. and China have a nearly $600 billion trading relationship, large amounts of U.S. investment in China, and increasing amounts of Chinese direct investment here, is because there are many areas where our national and business interests align,’ Paulson told Xi at the forum, according to AP.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that Chinese companies have agreed to buy 300 jets from Boeing.
In addition, state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China signed a cooperation agreement with the aerospace giant to build a 737 aircraft assembly center in China. That move angered Boeing’s unions in Washington state, which fear a loss of U.S. jobs.
Xi arrived in Seattle on Tuesday for a three-day visit before he heads to the White House later this week.
In the speech on Tuesday, Xi told dignitaries such as former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker that reaching agreements to ensure robust international trade was a priority.
Xi also said China and the US could work together to address cybercrimes, a problem that has sparked mutual tension. He said China was a staunch defender of cybersecurity and also had been a victim of hacking.
Acknowledging that the countries don’t always see eye to eye, Xi said China is ready to set up a joint effort to fight cybercrimes.
American officials say hacking attacks originating from China are approaching epidemic levels.
A meeting on Tuesday with governors from five US states and local Chinese officials produced a deal to work on clean energy.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3247019/Chinese-President-holds-closed-door-conference-Silicon-Valley-titans-Zuckerberg-Cook-Bezos-Washington-state-promises-crack-country-s-rip-offs-products.html#ixzz3mkffI8K3
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