AmCham Shanghai and the U.S.-China Business Council were pleased to host United States Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke at a breakfast event on July 17 at the Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel. Secretary Locke’s four-day trip to China, alongside U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, was focused on engaging Chinese officials on the global economy, discussing ways both countries can respond to the issue of climate change and promoting U.S. green technology companies.
The development and production of clean energy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century, said Secretary Locke at [the] event. Secretary Locke’s speech focused on the importance of bilateral cooperation in the development of energy efficient technologies and the responsibility the U.S. and China share in nurturing the clean energy sector in order to address an increasingly serious global climate threat.
According to Secretary Locke, the U.S. and China are uniquely positioned to create the energy the world needs, and furthermore, the only way both economies will achieve sustainable growth while preventing the catastrophic effects of global warming is if both countries tackle the problem of climate change together.
The U.S. and China are the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and both countries still get nearly three-fourths of their energy from fossil fuels. In order to change this, the U.S. and China need to encourage entrepreneurs to develop more clean energy technologies, free from trade barriers, said Secretary Locke. Developing energy efficient technologies will be profitable in the long run and Secretary Locke mentioned the six vast wind farms China is building, the largest in the world, that hold incredible job-creating potential.
Because U.S. companies employ hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers, the development of clean technology at home and the application of it abroad would present a win-win situation for workers in China and in the U.S., the Secretary emphasized.
However, Secretary Locke added that along with our dependency on fossil fuels, the U.S.-China trade relationship has to evolve as well. The trade imbalance between the two countries cannot be sustained and China should allow a free-floating Yuan. A market based currency would speed recovery of the global economic crisis.
Most importantly, more needs to be done to protect intellectual property rights, stressed Secretary Locke. Protecting IPR is an essential component of developing the clean energy sector and both countries need to work together to improve intellectual property enforcement.
Secretary Locke expressed confidence that the U.S. and China would be able to bridge their differences and focus on their common interests and “intertwined fates”. The U.S. and China have an obligation to work for the betterment of people around the world, and only through collaboration and cooperation can both countries address the problem of climate change, he said.
Formerly the governor of Washington State, Secretary Locke was the first Chinese-American state governor in U.S. history. Locke strengthened economic ties between Washington State and China during his two terms in office, doubling the state’s exports to China. After leaving office in 2005, Locke joined the Seattle office of the international law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, co-chairing the firm’s China practice. On March 26, 2009, he was appointed by President Barack Obama as the 36th Secretary of Commerce, becoming the first Chinese-American Secretary of Commerce in U.S. history.
For more information about the U.S. Department of Commerce, please visit their Web site www.commerce.gov.
Source: AmCham Shanghai