Monday PM January 17th, 2011

I'm Andrew Schneider with KUHF Business News. Wang Chao, China's Vice Minister for Commerce, and more than 100 Chinese CEOs met today with Houston business leaders to sign a series of trade and investment agreements.
Jeff Moseley, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership was on hand to sign the final agreement, that with his counterpart from China’s leading chamber of commerce. Moseley used the occasion to promote Houston as a destination for Chinese auto company investment.

“We think it’s time now to really open up a very serious discussion about an auto assembly plant from China coming here to the Houston area. We know that Houston automobiles are ready for the American marketplace, and we know that Houston is a logical place for the final assembly and taking those automobiles to the American marketplace as well as to Central and South America.”

Moseley says Chinese cars have reached a high enough level of quality to make them acceptable to American consumers. He says Japanese and Korean auto plants in the U.S. provide a template for Chinese investment.

“They’re at that tipping point where they’re ready to start taking their product to the American consumer, and the model is one that is already well established, where you bring your assembly plant to America, and you do the final assembly processes here. You do your testing here, and then you ship it to the marketplace.”

China currently ranks as Houston’s third largest trading partner.

The delegation’s visit to Houston comes just ahead of the formal state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao. In written interviews with the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, Hu reasserted China’s commitment to remain open to foreign investment. But he demurred on the question of when China would allow further appreciation of its currency, the renminbi, against the dollar. President Hu arrives in Washington to meet with President Barack Obama on January 19th.

US China signing ceremony
Yao Wenping, Vice President of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) and Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...