China offers California businesses opportunities and risks

Jan 25, 2011

The recent U.S. visit by China's president Hu Jintau has California experts considering opportunities for trade with the world's most populous country, according to an article in the Bakersfield Californian.

The story said China's manipulation of its currency is among the most significant barriers to trade between the two countries. China has resisted currency reform, but a CSU Bakersfield economist told reporter Courtenay Edelhart that the country will have to adapt if it wants to realize its superpower aspirations.

Edelhart spoke to UC Davis agricultural economist Colin Carter about agricultural trade with China. He said California farmers grow many of the same products as China, but Americans are stronger in food processing and technology, and have the advantage of a much more efficient industry structure.

"In China, the farmers still don't own the land they work, and the individual farms are pretty small," Carter was quoted. "To really compete on a global scale, the farms are going to have to get a lot bigger and more mechanized."

Interim director of CSU Bakersfield's Small Business Development Center. John Pryor, said local companies interested in the Chinese market should guard their competitive edge carefully.

"Any U.S. firm needs to be very cautious about their intellectual property risks. The Chinese have a long-standing reputation for stealing patented products or processes," Pryor told the reporter.

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By Jeannette E. Warnert
Author - Communications Specialist