China's Vice President Xi Jinping concluded his tour of the United States Friday in Los Angeles with a focus on trade, as a new joint venture was announced between DreamWorks Animation and several Chinese media groups. Jeffrey Brown reports.
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China's rise offers the U.S. economic opportunities, not threats — that was the message today as the man expected to be his country's future leader ended his American visit in Los Angeles, and a prominent U.S. film company announced it would open a studio in China.
The new company will be called Oriental DreamWorks, a joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and several Chinese media groups. DreamWorks has enjoyed box office success in China, led by the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise. But China has placed severe restrictions on the distribution of American films generally in the country.
The deal came together as Vice President Xi Jinping wrapped up his tour of the U.S. Trade has been a major focus of the trip. Yesterday, China's soon-to-be leader toured the Port of Los Angeles, where nearly 60 percent of its imports come from China.
Earlier this week in Iowa, China agreed to buy a record amount of American soybeans. China is already the top market for U.S. agricultural goods. Still, the U.S. trade deficit with China has been a persistent economic and political problem for the two nations.
President Obama met with Xi on Tuesday. The next day, speaking in Milwaukee, he talked tough on trade with China.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
And I'm not going to stand by when our competitors don't play by the same rules. It's not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours just because they're getting heavy subsidies from their government.
So I directed my administration to create a trade enforcement unit, and it's only got one job: investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China, making sure we've got an even playing field — because when we've got an even playing field, I promise you, nobody is going to outcompete America.
On the Republican campaign trail, China has been a common target.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
MITT ROMNEY (R):
China has stolen our intellectual property, our designs, our patents, know-how. It's hacked into our computers. It's manipulated its currency. I think you have got to say we're going to label them a currency manipulator and apply tariffs, if necessary, hopefully not, but apply tariffs where they're applying — or exercising unfair trade practices.
But at a luncheon with business leaders in Washington, Vice President Xi said steps have been taken to revalue China's currency, and that the moves helped boost American exports to China. He added, the U.S. needs to make some changes of its own.
XI JINPING, Chinese Vice President (through translator): To be frank, it is very important for addressing China-U.S. trade imbalance that the United States adjusts its economic policies and structure, including removing various restrictions on exports to China, in particular, easing control on civilian high-tech exports to China as soon as possible.
Xi Jinping is expected to become China's leader next year.