Highlights from the US-China Business Council's 40 Year History


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The US-China Business Council was founded in 1973 after President Richard Nixon's historic trip to China. This timeline explores US-China relations since 1973 and the organization's role in promoting commercial and economic relations between the two countries.

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Highlights from the US-China Business Council's 40 Year History

  1. 1. Focus: 40th ANNIVERSARYHighlights from the US-China Business Council’s40 June 1971 • United States ends 21-year trade embargo with China. September • First US grain sale to China. October • US firms attend Canton Trade Fair in Guangdong Year History • Inaugural meeting of the National Council for US-China Trade—which changed its name to the US-China Business Council (USCBC) in 1988. Former Deputy Representative to the 1979 for the first time. United Nations Christo- 1972 pher Phillips becomes the council’s president February 1973 and PRC leaders desig- • The Boeing Co. signs nate the China Council its first aircraft deal May for the Promotion of with China. International Trade • PRC liaison office opens in Washington, (CCPIT) as the council’s DC, and US liaison counterpart. 1973 office opens in Beijing. 1974 Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are from USCBC’s archives. • Secretary of State President Jimmy Carter and former President Henry Kissinger Richard Nixon with Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, delivers the keynote Washington, DC, January 1979 (official White address at the council’s House photo). first annual meeting. 1975 1976 1978 January March November • Trade Act of 1974 • The council opens a • Coastal States Gas takes effect, allowing Hong Kong office to Corp. signs an the US government to facilitate travel and agreement to become National Council for US-China Trade members meet grant China most- business for members the first US company with Ambassador Han Hsu at the council’s inaugural favored-nation going to China. to import crude oil meeting in Washington, DC, May 1973. (MFN) status. from China. 22 China Business Review January–March 2013
  2. 2. 1980 1979• The council opens its Beijing office.January• The United States and China establish diplomatic relations.• PRC Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping visits the United States to 1979 meet with US President Jimmy Carter. Deng Xiaoping Tours Ford Plant• President Carter in Atlanta Opening of first Chinese exhibition in the US under hosts, and the council council auspices, San Francisco, September 1980. The first Ford Model T went on sale sponsors, an event at the Kennedy Center in China in 1913. At the time, few with PRC Vice Premier manufactured goods were being exported Deng following a state Shanghai, and China 1982 dinner at the White from the United States, but Ford Motor opens consular offices House. in Houston and San April Co. Founder Henry Ford and his business• The council’s board Francisco. • The first US-China associate James Couzens wanted to “put delegation meets with manufacturing joint- the world on wheels,” says Ford Corporate Vice Premier Deng and January venture contract— discusses trade with • United States awards between Foxboro Co., Historian Bob Kreipke. Minister of Foreign MFN status to China an industrial controls Trade Li Qiang. In 1923, the company invited 100 subject to annual manufacturer, and renewal. Shanghai Instrument Chinese men to the company’s HighlandOctober Industry Co.—is Park plant in Michigan to learn how to• First US-China joint- April approved. repair and maintain the Model T. “Then venture contract signed • China assumes seat • PRC Premier Zhao to build the Great Wall in the International Ziyang and State the very next year, Sun Yat-sen [president Hotel in Beijing. Monetary Fund and Councilor Gu Mu of the Republic of China] wrote a letter to World Bank. meet with the Henry Ford urging him to get involved in council President 1980 Phillips and Board the development of China,” Kreipke says.• United States Chair David Tappan. 1981 Through the council, Ford’s Shanghai sales branch closed in establishes consulates in Guangzhou and Zhao communicates 1948—shortly before US-China trade was halted. But in 1978 Ford’s grandson met with Deng Xiaoping, who served as China’s paramount leader from 1978 to 1982, to express interest in participating in China’s auto industry. When Deng traveled to the United States in 1979, he toured Ford’s Atlanta assembly plant. That same year, Ford sold 750 F-Series trucks to China. Throughout the 1990s, the company set up dealers, sponsored a research and development fund, and opened auto component joint ventures. Ford set up a joint venture to develop a vehicle for China in 1995. Now the company has plans to introduce 15 new vehicle models in China by 2015. And in November Council board delegation to China meets with Vice Premier Bo Yibo at the Great 2012, the company reported a 56 percent Hall of the People, Beijing, 1981. increase in sales over the previous year. January–March 2013 China Business Review 23
  3. 3. Focus: 40th ANNIVERSARY 1978 million cases of Coca-Cola. “China is a between the Nationalist-led Kuomintang very important market for the company,” and the Chinese Communist Party. In 1942, says Phil Mooney, the Coca-Cola Co.’s Y.T. Sun, the executive director of Coke archivist and vice president of heritage bottler Watson’s Mineral Water Co., Inc. in communications. “Historically, it’s Shanghai wrote in The Coca-Cola Bottler one of the first markets we went into that the past year had been a great success. internationally.” “We are standing on the threshold of a 1942 filled with confidence and ambition, Before World War I, few people outside of in spite of uncertainties existing in this part the United States could buy Coca-Cola. That of the world.” changed when Robert Woodruff took over the company in 1923 and began implementing Coke’s business on the mainland was halted his vision of a global company, starting with in 1949 after the establishment of the PRC. the creation of the Foreign Department in But in 1978, Coke was selected as the only Coca-Cola Re-enters China 1926. Shortly after in 1927, Coca-Cola foreign company allowed to sell packaged After Past Success entered China by establishing a partnership cold drinks in China. Since then, the The Coca-Cola Co. with two British mineral water firms that company has invested more than $5 billion,In 1948, a year before Mao Zedong were selling in China. employs 50,000 people, has 42 productionfounded the People’s Republic of China, facilities in China, and is planning $4 billionShanghai became the first city outside Coke’s early business in China managed of investment over the next three years.the United States to sell more than 1 to thrive while the country faced conflict 1992 that China hopes to of PRC President 1990 maintain trade with the Li Xiannian in United States even if Washington, DC. December political relations sour • China opens stock over Taiwan. markets in Shanghai and 1986 Shenzhen, Guangdong. 1984 July • China applies for 1991January membership in the• PRC Premier Zhao General Agreement May Ziyang speaks at a on Tariffs and • The Office of the US council luncheon in Trade (GATT), the Trade Representative Washington. predecessor to begins investigating the World Trade violations of USNovember Organization (WTO). intellectual property• 3M Co. sets up first US rights (IPR) in China. USCBC President Donald M. Anderson travels to China with US wholly foreign-owned Secretary of Commerce Barbara Franklin and a delegation of enterprise in China. 1989 June US business leaders, December 1992. • USCBC leaders meet June with PRC Premier Li 1985 • President George Peng, who expresses H.W. Bush suspends concern over MFN • The United States lifts wholly foreign-owned high-tech sanctions insurance business March government-to- conditions for China. imposed in 1991 in in China. government sales,• Sheraton Corp. takes response to Chinese commercial export of over management of weapons, and official 1992 promises to abide by October the Great Wall Hotel, the Missile Technology visits between US and • Jinbei Automobile becoming the first PRC military leaders March Control Regime. becomes the first PRC foreign hotel chain to after the violence in • China accedes to company listed on operate in China. Tiananmen Square in the Nuclear Non- September the New York Stock• Council co-hosts Beijing. Proliferation Treaty. • AIG, Inc. receives Exchange. luncheon in honor license to operate first 24 China Business Review January–March 2013
  4. 4. 2004 1993 event for President 2004 Jiang in New York City.March April• Merrill Lynch & Co. • USCBC co-hosts dinner opens representative 1998 for PRC Vice Premier office in Shanghai, Wu Yi and Chinese becoming the first June delegation to the US- US securities firm to • President Clinton visits China Joint Commission operate in China. China to sign agreements on Commerce and on US high-tech exports Trade (JCCT). and other issues, 1994 including initiatives on infrastructure 2006 development.January• China unifies its currency, eliminating July Foreign Exchange • US Congress votes to Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and former Secretary of Certificates. change references to State Madeleine Albright, April 2004. “most favored nation” in US law to “normalJuly trade relations.”• New PRC Foreign Trade Law takes 1996 1997 effect. The law 1999 regulates cross- July • USCBC opens its Shanghai office. border transactions • China’s currency April of goods, technology, becomes convertible on • PRC Premier Zhu Rongji and services, and current account. October visits Washington to addresses the roles of • At a Washington, DC, discuss China’s WTO Hu Jintao and Henry government officials, summit, PRC President accession. USCBC co- Kissinger at a dinner foreign and domestic Jiang Zemin and US hosts welcome dinner in hosted by USCBC, 2006. companies, state- President Bill Clinton New York. owned entities, and agree to take steps to trade associations. initiate civilian nuclear trade. USCBC co-hosts November • United States and China 1998 sign agreement on the 2006 terms of China’s WTO accession in Beijing. April • USCBC co-hosts dinner honoring PRC 2000 President Hu Jintao, who delivers an address October on bilateral relations, in • President Bill Clinton Washington, DC. signs into law the US- China Relations Act September of 2000, which grants • President George permanent normal trade W. Bush and PRC relations to China. President Hu Jintao agree to create the semi-annual US-China 2001 Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), a December high-level meeting to • China formally accedes address the economic to the WTO. challenges facing both countries. 2003 November • USCBC President John December Frisbie and a delegation • USCBC hosts reception of board members and dinner for PRC meet with senior PRC US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, USCBC President Robert Kapp, and CCPIT Chair Premier Wen Jiabao in officials, including Washington, DC. Premier Wen Jiabao, Yu Xiaosong at USCBC’s 25th Anniversary Gala, Washington, DC, June 1998. Foreign Affairs Minister January–March 2013 China Business Review 25
  5. 5. Focus: 40th ANNIVERSARY 2009 Li Zhaoxing, and 2009 other officials. • China overtakes the United States to 2007 become the world’s largest auto market.• China overtakes Japan as the United States’ April third-largest export • President Barack market. Obama and PRC President Hu JintaoMay rename the US-China• USCBC co-hosts dinner SED the US-China honoring PRC Vice Strategic and Premier Wu Yi and the Economic Dialogue delegation to the SED (S&ED), which is in Washington, DC. broadened to include global strategic and security issues. 2008 Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, and JulyAugust • USCBC co-hosts dinner President Barack Obama in July 2009 at the White House (official White House photo).• China’s Antimonopoly honoring PRC Vice Law, which established Premier Wang Qishan, the guidelines State Councilor Dai September December 2011 for China’s first Bingguo, and the • USCBC co-hosts dinner • USCBC co-hosts • US exports to China comprehensive antitrust delegation to the S&ED honoring PRC Premier reception for US exceed $100 billion for policy, takes effect. in Washington, DC. Wen Jiabao and the and PRC delegations the first time. ministerial delegation to to the JCCT andSeptember the United Nations in dinner for PRC Vice • China becomes largest 2010 personal computer• USCBC co-hosts New York. Premier Wang Qishan, market. luncheon honoring PRC Minister of Commerce Premier Wen Jiabao August Chen Deming, and and the ministerial • China surpasses Japan other senior Chinese 2009 delegation to the United as the world’s second- delegation members, in Nations in New York. largest economy. Washington, DC.China Becomes General Motors’ Sun Yat-sen rides in a Buick Largest Market in the early 20th century.General Motors Co.’s business in Chinadates back to 1922, when the company’sbranch in Manila, Philippines movedto Shanghai. General Motors ChinaInc. began operations in 1929, with itshead office in Shanghai and a branch inShenyang, Liaoning.GM’s vehicles were the “car of choice” forChina’s founding father and nationalist But Buick wasn’t the only GM vehicle that manufacture 40 different models underleader Sun Yat-sen, Premier Zhou Enlai, offered in China at the time. Chevrolets seven brands. In 2009, China surpassedand China’s last emperor Puyi, according served as personal transportation, taxis, the United States to become the company’sto GM China’s Dayna Hart. “In the 1930s, buses, and ambulances as far back as the largest market. By the end of NovemberBuick was one of the most popular vehicle General Motors Co. 1920s. When GM reentered China in 1997, 2012, GM and its joint-venture partnersbrands in China,” Hart says. “It was said it only sold one model of Buick. Today, the had sold nearly 2.6 million vehicles, higherthat one in six vehicles on Shanghai’s company has 12 joint ventures in China than total 2011 sales.roads was a Buick.” 26 China Business Review January–March 2013
  6. 6. 2010 2012 PepsiCo Partnership Becomes Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations; muhtar kent, president and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co.; Premier Wen jiabao; Largest Beverage Venture in China the Honorable Carla A. Hills, chair and CEO of Hills & Co.; and John Frisbie, PepsiCo entered China in 1981 when it president of USCBC, at a reception honoring Wen in New York in September 2010. opened its first bottling plant in Shenzhen, Guangdong. As China’s beverage market has grown—PepsiCo estimates that China January Xi meets with US Vice November President Joe Biden will be the world’s largest beverage market • PRC President Hu • Xi Jinping takes over as and speaks to business Jintao visits the United the Chinese Communist in 2015—the company has worked to and policy leaders at a States, where he meets Party’s general secretary luncheon co-hosted by expand its footprint in the country. with US President and chair of the Central USCBC. Xi also visits Barack Obama and Military Commission, In 2012, PepsiCo announced that it had Iowa and California. delivers a speech at a and is expected to luncheon co-hosted by become president in teamed up with Tingyi Holding Corp. USCBC. May 2013. Under the agreement, Tingyi’s beverage • At the S&ED, China says it will raise subsidiary, Tingyi-Asahi Beverages Holding 2012 ownership caps for Co. Ltd., became PepsiCo’s franchise foreign investors in bottler, making Tingyi-PepsiCo the largest February securities joint-ventures beverage venture in China with a national to 49 percent from 33 • PRC Vice President percent. distribution network and more than 70 Xi Jinping visits the United States. During manufacturing plants. his time in Washington, But PepsiCo’s business in China isn’t 2012 only about beverages. In 1993, the company entered China’s food market when it introduced Lay’s potato chips. PepsiCo says that 40 percent of Chinese households have tried Lay’s products. The company has invested in developing tastes for the Chinese palate, and it recently opened a research and development center in China, its largest outside of North America, to develop products for China and other countries in Asia. Some of the flavors unique to the China market include Lay’s cucumber, hot and sour fish soup, and numb and spicy hotpot flavor potato chips. The company’sSadari.com, PepsiCo oatmeal brand, Quaker Oats, offers quick- cooking congee with Chinese medicinal PRC Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice President Joe Biden at the CEO roundtable ingredients, such as wolfberry, white co-sponsored by USCBC in Washington, DC, February 2012. fungus, and red dates. January–March 2013 China Business Review 27