Understanding the meetings between U.S. businesses and the Chinese delegation

Beijing, CHINA: A US and a Chinese flag wave outside a commercial building in Beijing, 09 July 2007. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice 06 July 2007 accused China of flouting the rules of global trade in its headlong economic expansion as the US administration 'has not been hesitant' to deploy trade tools against China, including a complaint lodged with the World Trade Organization over copyright piracy.


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The Chinese President Hu Jintao continues his American visit, with a trip to Chicago today. He'll meet with Boeing's chief executive after the announcement China will be buying billions of dollars worth of airplanes from Boeing.

Yesterday, the Chinese delegation met with other CEOs. One of those executives is Michael Morris, who heads up American Electric Power, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Morris, welcome to Marketplace.

MICHAEL MORRIS: Good morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: So President Hu is meeting with CEOs this morning as well. What goes on in these meetings with the Chinese delegation?

MORRIS: I would hope that it's a continuation of the very constructive, collaborative conversations we've had over the last few days in Washington. The whole notion is I think a recognition of two great countries beginning to realize that we need each other maybe more than we think. On the energy space we've been talking very serious undertakings -- commitments on both sides of the aisle to do projects together, to share data. There's a great deal of understood concern over intellectual property. They are offended by that and our team is protected of that. And that is really straight forward so the conversation in that space, which is a limiter, get's around, "Let's find a balance, let's find a way to deal with it."

CHIOTAKIS: Your company signed this deal with China's largest power generator and the nation's largest electric utility for some clean energy technologies. Are the U.S. and China on the same page when it comes to green energy?

MORRIS: I think that we are. I think they're more aggressive in a sense because they have a form of government that allows them to do that. We were there a few months ago and saw the magnitude of the wind development. So they're probably ahead in that sense only in that they've got a form of government that allows those things to happen.

CHIOTAKIS: You know there have been a lot of smiles and some big announcement too, but we know there are a lot of hurdles such as trade imbalances and currency issues. How do we overcome those things?

MORRIS: Those are all very real issues. And the one that they are very critical of is, "Let us get to those places on our own. We don't need your help, nor do we need your criticism." And I guess if I were sitting in their chair I could understand that but those are very real issues.

CHIOTAKIS: Michael Morris, CEO of American Electric Power. Thanks.

MORRIS: You bet Steve. Thanks for the opportunity to chat.

About the author

Steve Chiotakis was the host of Marketplace Morning Report until January 2012.


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