The United States and China have a financial relationship that shapes the global economy. However, it does not go much further than that. Business leaders said the countries trade, but still do not trust each other—that could be the result of years of miscommunication.
“There's a lot of uncertainty and misunderstanding between our two cultures,” said George Harris, general counsel and VP of Government Affairs for SoZo Group.
“People are constantly talking about China, but there’s so much diversity that people are not aware of,” said Hing Chao, founder of the Earthpulse Foundation.
Greg Norris is County Commission Chairman and Probate Judge from Monroe County, Alabama. His small-town heart never dreamed of traveling abroad.
Norris said, “To tell you where I grew up, my last name is Norris, and Rachel, I grew up on Norris Avenue. You can't get anymore home than me.”
Now, he wants to help others open their minds to the Chinese.
"I embrace Chinese direct investment just like I would Mercedes, Hyundai, Honda, TK, Airbus. Those have been very, very good for the state of Alabama and direct China investment will be good for us too,” he said.
This new way of doing business might be the beginning of mending a fractured relationship and building a financial alliance.
“People in Alabama are extremely friendly and very, very caring for their family, just like us who care for our family,” explained Juliana Lam, managing director for AML Group Holdings Ltd.
Philanthropist Ronnie Chan explained the world is traveling a new direction.
“Frankly, mankind is faced with one of the greatest opportunities that our generation and many generations before and after will see and that is, we have never lived in a time where the East and the West are both relatively successful,” explained Chan, Chairman of the Asia Society.
While successful, and powerful, the countries are still at odds. The U.S. and Chinese Governments have differing viewpoints on major issues like foreign policy, national security, and human rights. Yet, when the Southern Delegation looked at the people from the People’s Republic of China, it felt a lot like looking in a mirror.
Lucia Huang is CEO of Northeastern China CEO Club—a club made up of communist and diplomatic elite.
Huang said, “We know that in China, and elsewhere as well, we have so many so called fallen civilizations. So, if you don't want to preserve it now, then they are endangered to be lost forever.”
“If we can install the training and education with that, where they can go with jobs in the future, I think it's going to be a great fit and a great future,” added Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz.
Some might say it's a future worth considering.
“If we don't get together, we will increase misunderstanding, and we'll all be fried,” said Chan.