USCBC's 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner in Beijing
Gala Remarks - As Prepared
Marc N. Casper, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
Chair, US-China Business Council
Good evening, everyone. It’s a pleasure and honor to be with you tonight. It’s also great to be back in Beijing.
As Craig mentioned, I’ve served as chairman of the US-China Business Council since 2022 and have been a board member for a number of years over the past decade. As a company, Thermo Fisher has been a proud member of the Council for many years. The business leaders who form this group understand that we are stewards of a relationship that is historic in its importance to the world. Our goal, and the reason I accepted the chairmanship, is to further strengthen this relationship to benefit both countries and society overall.
Tonight, and this entire year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of USCBC’s founding. Over the past five decades, the world, and the US-China relationship, has undergone tremendous change. Fifty years ago, our countries had not yet normalized diplomatic relations; two-way trade was a mere $900 million, compared to $690 billion in 2022, and Chinese GDP was around $138 billion, compared to around $18 trillion today.
China’s rise has lifted millions out of poverty and fueled economic growth on both sides of the Pacific. Meanwhile, American companies have been at the forefront of China’s modernization, setting up some of the first businesses here in the reform era—the benefits of which are eminently clear today.
Over these 50 years, the US business community—led by USCBC—has been a consistent bridge-builder between our two countries, promoting cooperation and engagement and advancing economic prosperity for both the American and Chinese people. Although US-China relations continue to evolve in an increasingly complex world, history has shown that greater connection between the two countries reduces the chance of conflict and increases shared prosperity. The US business community wants to continue to nurture that bond between our two countries so we can drive mutual economic growth and a better world for all.
At Thermo Fisher Scientific, the company that I lead, our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner, and safer. And, that plays out in many ways—whether we are enabling breakthrough medicines or patient diagnostics that improve lives worldwide or ensuring clean air and water and protecting our planet for future generations.
We have a long history in China—over 40 years now. Our presence began with our Environmental Instruments business, and over the years, we’ve partnered with Chinese companies and the Chinese government to improve air quality, advance healthcare, and ensure food safety. Our strategy is aligned with China’s 14th Five-Year Plan and the country’s Healthy China Initiative.
We are committed to this relationship and continue to invest in our presence in China. Today, we have:
- More than 7,000 employees in China
- 10 manufacturing plants, which primarily make product that supports our customers in China and across Asia-Pacific
- Our flagship China Innovation Center, plus 5 application development and other innovation centers
- 12 commercial offices
Thermo Fisher’s investment and presence has been mutually beneficial, supporting our company’s growth while helping to improve lives for people in China and all around the world.
That’s why, as part of the USCBC, we continue to work to strengthen US-China relations. There are many opportunities for us to work together to make a positive impact on global challenges—like addressing climate change, improving public health, raising living standards. These are all issues where the US and China have shared concerns, and the business community plays a key role in driving innovation to find solutions.
If US-China relations were to return to the low points before 1971 and 1972, this would be a disaster for economic competitiveness of both countries and the livelihoods of both people. The council encourages both governments to find the right balance on national security issues while focusing strongly on our shared interests.
Over the past 50 years, the business community has played a vital stabilizing role for US-China relations, and US businesses remain dedicated to promoting constructive engagement between our countries. In fact, despite record two-way trade numbers last year, we believe that there is continued opportunity to grow our economic relationship. We should strive to expand commercial engagement between our business communities, our governments, and our people.
The past 50 years of the US-China relationship have been remarkable, challenging, dynamic, and meaningful. I look forward to the next 50 years as USCBC continues to be a leading bridge builder for the benefit of both countries and the entire world. Thank you very much!
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