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Calling on the Government of the People's Republic of China to Remove Barriers to United States Financial Services Firms Doing Business in China

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Location: Washington, DC


CALLING ON THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO REMOVE BARRIERS TO UNITED STATES FINANCIAL SERVICES FIRMS DOING BUSINESS IN CHINA -- (House of Representatives - September 04, 2007)

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today in strong support of House Resolution 552, a measure calling on the government of the People's Republic of China to remove barriers to the United States financial service firms doing business in China. And I'm pleased to partner with Chairman Frank, Ranking Member Bachus, and the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Marshall) on what I think is a really important initiative.

Some of my prepared remarks, Mr. Speaker, would be cumulative in light of the gentleman's remarks, but let me just kind of fill in some other aspects and highlight a couple of the points that he made.

First of all, these are all commitments that the Chinese Government has made. This is not negotiating a new set of agreements. This is not contemplating something that hasn't literally been agreed to before. All we're doing in this resolution is putting the Chinese Government on notice, A, that we're watching; and, B, that we have expectation that they're going to do exactly what they committed themselves to do.

Secondly, you know, if you look at what the gentleman from Georgia described, that is, the Chinese economy, there are some that suggest that of 1.3 billion individuals, Mr. Speaker, only 1 million Chinese individuals currently have use of credit cards in China, compared to 480 million people who have access to cell phones.

Now, if you begin to think about where this can go, right now the Chinese economy is somewhat held back in a way, because the Chinese consumers and the Chinese financial markets don't have these kinds of tools, and they have a savings rate that almost takes our breath away. About a third of the savings, you know, they're saving at about 33 percent, which, what does that mean? That means that those dollars or that currency is not available to purchase things, particularly from the United States, which, as the gentleman pointed out, creates a very difficult situation in terms of our trade deficit.

I view the Chinese economy almost like a potted plant, Mr. Speaker; a plant that, at first glance, may look to be flourishing, but over a period of time, as that plant matures, and as it develops, it reaches a point at which the roots need to go deeper. And I think that this is the point in the Chinese economic growth where China's roots need to go deeper. They need to go deeper into the ground. And our financial services sector, Mr. Speaker, is robust and dynamic, and offers something that I think is a great opportunity.

But the unnatural truncating, the unnatural prohibition of the Chinese Government of prohibiting American firms to come in, I think, ultimately has a negative impact on our economy, has a negative impact on our growth, and certainly has a negative impact on the 700 million people who are in China and who are still living in poverty.

And I just want to highlight an aspect of this that has an impact on my district, because I represent a district outside of Chicago that employs about 68,000 individuals, about 1,100 manufacturing firms, who are really suffering and struggling based on the currency manipulation issue that the gentleman outlined. This is a way out. This is a way to move forward. And I think it is incumbent upon us, and I very much appreciate the gentleman's work on this in a bipartisan way. It is incumbent upon us to move forward and to urge and cajole and push and give a sharp word to the Chinese Government that they need to make these reforms and do these things to which they've previously committed.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, I don't have any additional speakers. Let me just yield myself another minute or two just to say this in closing.

We have before us, really, two competing economic systems that are playing out essentially. We have our system, which has a very high view of the individual, free people making free decisions within a free market. That is the great strength of the American system. We show great deference and great respect to the free market on balance.

China, however, is in some sort of transition right now, where they've not had that high view of the individual. They've not had that high view of the free market, and they're beginning this process of more or less dabbling in it. This is the call for them to stop the dabbling, as it relates to the financial services sector, and to fully embrace those things, those concepts that they propound around the world.

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