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2018 Annual Gala of China General Chamber of Commerce-Chicago Successfully Held
2018/09/19

On September 19th, the 2018 Annual Gala of the China General Chamber of Commerce-Chicago (CGCC-Chicago), co-sponsored by CGCC-Chicago and World Business Chicago, was held at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. The theme of this year’s annual conference was “Connection”. Mr. Xie Fuzhan, President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, delivered a keynote speech at the annual gala on the achievements of and insights from China's 40 years of reform and opening-up. Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent congratulatory letters to the annual gala. Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, former US Treasury Secretary and Chairman of the Paulson Foundation Henry Paulson, and President of CGCC-Chicago and General Manager of HNA North America Liang Pufen all delivered speeches at the gala. Acting Consul General Liu Jun also attended the annual gala and gave a closing speech. Deputy Consul General Yu Peng, former US Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois State Representative Theresa Mah, distinguished guest Mrs. Lande from Iowa, members of China's 8 cities economic and trade delegation led by the Investment Promotion Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce, representatives from the Commerce and Trade Promotion Agencies from the nine Midwestern states, relevant department heads and local government officials currently attending the Mayors’ Training Program on Urban Sustainability, and representatives of Chinese and American enterprises were all in attendance at the gala. In total, over 600 people attended the event.

President Xie Fuzhan said in his keynote speech that in the 40 years of Reform and Opening-up, China’s economy and society have undergone tremendous historical changes. The economy has achieved sustained and rapid growth, the people’s living standards have improved remarkably, green development has continued to advance, and the level of science and technology has increased substantially, becoming an important engine for global economic growth, a staunch supporter of multilateral trade, and a provider of international public goods. The achievements of China's reform and development are the result of China unswervingly following the path of development with Chinese characteristics, deepening reforms, opening-up to the outside world, and pursuing mutual benefits and peaceful development. President Xie Fuzhan emphasized that the US government's practice of increasing tariffs is not conducive to solving the China-US economic and trade issues. The Chinese government's attitude toward the unilateral provocation of trade disputes by the US has always been clear and firm. China will continue to deepen reforms and expand opening-up at its own pace to promote healthy and stable economic development.

Ambassador Cui Tiankai wrote in his congratulatory letter that the Midwest holds a vital position on the US economic map. It is the heartland of agriculture and manufacturing in the United States. It also holds high status in the fields of education, culture and technological innovation, attracting more and more Chinese enterprises, students, and tourists to invest, study, and travel here. This region has thus become a hot spot for China-US economic and people-to-people exchanges. The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Connection”. It is of vital importance to strengthen exchanges between China and the United States in various fields and at all levels. In particular, the close ties between both countries’ businesses and people allow us to see the motivation that will drive China and the United States to enhance mutual understanding and eliminate differences, to see the solid foundation of friendly exchanges and mutual benefit, and to embrace a bright future for mutual respect and win-win cooperation between both countries. China-US relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. A strong and stable China-US relationship meets the demand of the people of China and the US, as well as the world at large. People in the business world of both countries should assume the entrepreneurial spirit and work together to promote the establishment of stable bilateral relations with an eye toward the future.”

US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad wrote in his congratulatory letter that the United States is committed to creating a favorable business environment in the interests of the prosperity and development of companies in the US. American society is diverse, its market is attractive, and the nation’s creative labor force bathe in the spirit of vigorous innovation. All companies can find the creativity, resources, and markets they need in the United States. Succeeding in the US market can help companies succeed in the world market. He hopes the member companies of the China General Chamber of Commerce-USA continue to invest in the United States.

In his speech, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that China and the US share the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and both sides have benefited from this relationship. Economic and trade investment is the glue of the two countries’ relationship. As China relies more on domestic consumption to drive economic growth, US exports are faced with enormous opportunities. As China gradually expands its foreign investment, more and more companies like Wanxiang and Fuyao will bring jobs to the United States.

In his speech, Governor Colyer said that Kansas-China relations stretch far back into history. Kansas is one of the first states in the United States to establish friendly relations with China. The two sides have carried out fruitful cooperation in various fields such as economy, education, and culture. Looking toward the future, he believes that the opportunities for US-China relations will outweigh their challenges, and he hopes that the United States and China will work together to achieve this goal.

An award ceremony was also held during the annual gala’s banquet dinner to recognize Chinese and American companies with outstanding performance in business development and corporate social responsibility. Cixing Group won the Best Employer of the Year Award, and Bank of China-Chicago Branch and CRRC Sifang America won the Best Social Contribution Award of the Year. Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, also announced the launch of the 2018-2019 Chicago Chamber of Commerce Social Responsibility Volunteer Program. Videos were shown at the banquet dinner to demonstrate how Chinese-funded enterprises have actively fulfilled their social responsibilities and given back to society.

During the annual gala, the Midwest Forum on Investment was also held. Governor Colyer, former White House senior economic adviser Todd Buchholz, World Business Chicago Chairman Andrea Zopp, President of Wanxiang America Ni Pin, senior official of the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis Amanda Budny, Bloomberg Chief Economist Michael Mcdonough, and others attended the forum. The annual gala also held a special session on Midwest investment environment and projects. The Commerce and Trade Promotion Agencies from 9 Midwestern states set up display booths on site to gain publicity.

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