BEIJING May 19 U.S. Ambassador to China Max
Baucus on Monday tried to entice Chinese investors with U.S.
infrastructure projects, emphasising the countries' economic
ties in some of the first high-profile remarks of his new
The United States needs to invest more than $8 trillion in
facilities for transport, energy and water alone through 2030, a
U.S. Chamber of Commerce study has estimated.
Like a string of ambassadors before him, Baucus, a former
Montana senator who arrived in Beijing in March, has made it his
immediate priority to boost the commercial and economic links
between the world's two biggest economies.
Stronger economic ties would help resolve a host of thorny
political and security challenges, Baucus stressed at an
investment forum at the U.S. Embassy.
"As we all know, the United States is more than open for
business," Baucus said.
"America really needs to repair its infrastructure. The
roads, the highways, bridges, and airports need repair and need
to be rebuilt in many cases. Frankly, that means there is a huge
At the forum, which was closed to media except for the
opening remarks, U.S. officials from states and cities,
including California, Texas and Washington state and San
Francisco, offered details on potential projects.
Chinese firms have been quickening the pace of overseas
investment in recent years, with their footprint expanding from
Asia to Africa and Europe.
China's outbound foreign direct investment reached $87.8
billion in 2012, up 17.6 percent over the previous year,
according to Commerce Ministry data. The United States was the
second largest destination of that investment after Hong Kong,
at more than $4 billion, an annual increase of 124 percent.
But some in China have complained that some deals have been
stymied by cultural or political resistance.
Baucus tried to soothe the concerns of potential investors
over security reviews by the Committee on Foreign Investment in
the United States (CFIUS), which reviews transactions that would
bring U.S. businesses under foreign ownership, in light of
national security concerns.
Most CFIUS reviews are approved, though high-profile
rejections have fed perceptions that the process creates high
hurdles for investors from abroad, particularly from China,
which is viewed as a strategic competitor.
"CFIUS is not near the problem that some people think,"
Baucus said. "I know politically, sometimes, it's used. But we
have to cut through the politics and get down to the economics
and I can tell you it is not an issue."
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)