Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce urges caution over investigation into Chinese business practices

Updated 2017-10-13 10:32:53 Xinhua

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the largest and most influential business association in the Los Angeles area, urged the U.S. Trade Representative to be cautious over Section 301 investigations into Chinese trade practices.

"We recommend ... that trade disputes should be negotiated. It's not necessary to use Section 301," said Carlos Valderrama, president of the Center for Global Trade & Foreign Investment at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, in a telephone interview with Xinhua on Thursday.

"It's better to talk first and then see where the negotiations will take us," he added.

Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce wrote two letters to the U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer separately on Sept.25 and Sept.28 to advocate that U.S. negotiators continue negotiations to resolve disputes with countries around the globe.

"I believe that China has made effort (regarding intellectual property issues) and the effort is still in process... Right now, it's probably more important to see the progress that has been made," said Valderrama.

He noted that use of Section 301 is not the best strategy. "Our world today is so well integrated, supply chains reach beyond the border of China and beyond the border of the United States... The decision, whatever it might be, is not only going to affect the United States and China, but also affect other countries."

He believed that both countries need to do everything they can to avoid a trade war. "Trade between China and the United States is very large. Bilateral trade between China and the Los Angeles area is almost 160 billion U.S. dollars a year. It's pretty significant."

According to one of the two letters to the U.S. Trade Representative signed by Gary Toebben, president of Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, both the United States and China should commit to finding practical solutions to there problems to their own benefit and that of the global economy.

"Our position is grounded on the fact that any final outcome will not only directly affect U.S. firms, but also thousands of companies that are part of the global supply chain and have a direct impact on jobs and investments in the United States," wrote Toebben in the letter.

"The tangible benefits of such an approach will enhance the current commercial and industrial exchanges, foreign investments, tourism, cultural and educational ties that Los Angeles Area currently maintains with many Chinese provinces whose businesses create jobs and economic growth in our region," he added.

By being the voice of business, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of more than 235,000 businesses in L.A. County, more than 1,650 member companies and more than 650,000 employees.

In August, Washington initiated a protectionist probe into what it calls China's theft of U.S. intellectual property by evoking Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 that allows the U.S. president to unilaterally impose hefty tariffs and other trade limits on partners deemed to possess unfair advantages.

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