USCBC President Craig Allen Remarks on the Jubilee Gala in Washington, DC

USCBC's Jubilee Gala in Washington, DC

Gala Remarks - As Prepared

Craig Allen, President, US-China Business Council

 

Thank you for attending the 50th Anniversary Gala for the US-China Business Council. Our theme is “Making History Together, Building for the Next 50 Years.”

Let me begin by thanking our many sponsors this evening, in particular, our Jubilee year-long sponsors:

  • FedEx
  • Gilead Sciences, Inc.
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
  • Visa Inc.

As well as our Trailblazer sponsors:

  • Air Products
  • Chubb
  • Xcoal Energy & Resources

Also, our Leadership sponsors, our Benefactors, and our Patron level underwriters—we are grateful to each of you for supporting USCBC.  

The Council’s origins go back to the earliest days of the modern bilateral US-China relationship. Immediately after President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972, Chas Freeman drafted memos proposing the creation of a business association.   

China was impoverished at the time. There was virtually no trade or investment. But, Bob Hormats, then at the NSC, understood the potential and he gathered a group of business leaders who formed our first board of directors. Hundreds of companies quickly joined the newly minted organization—which became the US-China Business Council. 

I would like to take a moment to recognize our founders.     

Specifically, let me thank Chas Freeman and Bob Hormats who played a vital role in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Bob is with us today. Chas is watching these proceedings from New England, but he is represented here by his daughter Carla.       

Carla and Bob, can I ask you to stand, and to receive our recognition for your specific contributions to USCBC and for the far-sighted vision of all the architects of the modern US-China relationship. We honor you. 

To this day, the mission of USCBC remains unchanged. Our mission is to advocate for American companies doing business in China, to expand the overall bilateral US-China commercial relationship. 

We are a membership organization and our commitment to members, also, remains unchanged. 

We support American companies doing business in China—to benefit American citizens from across this great land: farmers, truckers, ranchers, fishermen, actors, longshoremen, university professors, waiters, hospitality workers, and on and on.  

More than a million of our fellow citizens are employed due to trade with China. Each of their jobs is important.

In simple terms, our commitment to them and you is to advocate for a level playing field that will unleash the power of markets and free enterprise to improve the lives of all participants.  

While our mission and commitment have not changed, the challenges associated with doing business in China have changed dramatically. 

Unlike 50 years ago, China is now an advanced economy and middle-income country.    

There has been a convergence of capabilities between China and the United States; even though there remain differences in values and systems. 

Yet, China’s integration into the global economy is unequivocally a positive development that has brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. 

History teaches us that economics underpins global geopolitical stability and that attempts to undermine economic interdependence can lead to greater global geopolitical instability. 

Yes, economic decoupling is possible. But, if we do so, we would all be poorer, yet more unequal, and yet more unstable.  

This further strengthens our conviction that we all benefit from a level playing field and free and fair markets, in the vast majority of industries that do not present national security concerns.   

We have confidence that the success of US business in China will benefit both countries, both peoples, and contribute to overall geopolitical stability. 

The US-China Business Council is proud of our role of “making history together.”  

We understand that there will be naysayers. Perhaps, in this era, discord is inevitable. 

Yet, at the end of the day, the United States and China are going to collaborate in the service of humanity, or we will fail to collaborate—to the detriment of humanity. 

USCBC chooses to fight for collaboration on a level playing field that yields maximum benefits for all. 

We are not there yet. We have a long way to go. But, together, we will make progress to the benefit of both of our countries. 

That is why we pledge to you to continue to “build for the next 50 years.” Thank you.  

With that, please allow me to introduce our first speaker, Ryan McInerney, CEO of Visa Inc.

 


Toast to Henry Kissinger - As Prepared 

On November 29, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger passed away at the age of 100. Earlier today, he was laid to rest in a private ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery. 

Everyone in this room owes a debt to Henry Kissinger, one of the key architects of the US-China relationship and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. 

Henry’s persistent, long-term, careful diplomacy prior to the Nixon visit and after set the foundation upon which the bilateral relationship rests—until today. 

An immigrant to America, how fitting is it that he rose to be the preeminent foreign policy practitioner and scholar of his era? 

And yet, he was a kind and gentle man. He took great joy in his friends and family. What an exquisite gentleman. 

While we have lost our finest diplomat and scholar, let us raise a glass and toast to one of his greatest legacies—the contemporary US-China relationship.  It would not have happened without Henry Kissinger. 

It is now up to us to carry on his great legacy. 

Let us lift our glass in honor of a great American, Henry Kissinger.

Cheers.