While Evan G Greenberg, chairman and CEO of the Zurich-based Chubb Ltd insurance group, used the scene in a prestigious think tank in Washington to persuade US executives not to give up the Chinese market – companies from Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea invaded the US government annual SelectUSA Investment Summit in National Harbor, Maryland, to sweep up US investment targets, once the domain of Chinese competitors.
Greenberg used the stage at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) to deliver a speech urging US companies to remain in the Chinese market despite the arbitrary application of the rule of law and human rights violations, as well as bottlenecks in the supply chain exacerbated by President Xi Jinpings continued Covid-19 lockdowns.
“We must commit to an interest-based approach to our economic relations with China,” Greenberg told the CSIS audience. “I strongly believe that America has been strengthened by letting its companies compete and thrive in the global market and in China.”
Greenberg is known on the Chinese mainland as Greenberg Jr; his father, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, is widely credited to set up the once large American Insurance Group (AIG) for insolvency during the 2008 financial crisis.
Evan Greenberg also raised eyebrows among members of the public by claiming to speak for U.S. CEOs.
“Evan speaking as U.S. CEO is amusing given that he moved Chubb’s headquarters from Warren, New Jersey, to Zurich, Switzerland, following its merger with ACE,” said a U.S. chief financial officer, adding: “He will also speak up in China since taking over a majority stake [86.1%] in [China’s] Huatai Insurance Group. “
When Greenberg was directly asked if US companies like Chubb may be overexposed to China, Greenberg replied that China “represents only 5% of our business.”
While Greenberg may be a lone voice promoting China’s trade in the United States, executives and heads of government from Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea did not miss a minute announcing multi-billion dollar investments in the United States, primarily semiconductor-related chip manufacturing, at annual SelectUSA Investment Forum.
The forum hosted U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo along with several cabinet ministers and eight state governors, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
President Joe Biden gave recorded remarks to the more than 3,600 participants from more than 70 nations.
Singapore became the world’s second most important financial center after New York after the fall of London after Brexit and Hong Kong’s political isolation, and Singapore used the SelectUSA summit on 26-29. June to launch a US-Singapore Women in Tech Partnership, something close to Raimondo, a former Rhode Island governor and private equity / VC CEO.
Singapore’s future Minister of Communications and Information, Josephine Teo, not only led one of the largest delegations to the SelectUSA summit, but also represented the world’s largest infrastructure investor, the $ 380 billion plus Temasek sovereign wealth fund.
Temasekjust as the Benetton family-owned Atlantia Group, along with Blackstone and Australian Macquarie, is seeking to make massive investments in U.S. airports, highways, ports and utilities under Biden’s $ 1.2 trillion Build Back Better infrastructure fund.
Maryland, especially its largest city Baltimore, is a primary target for potential multi-billion investment thanks to its unique mix of airports, ports and railroads.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves said getting significant investment in Baltimore is a top priority for the Biden administration, while U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Jonathan E Kaplan agreed that Baltimore’s historic black university of science and technology, Morgan State Universityis an ideal place to host the US-Singapore Women in Tech Partnership given MSU’s unusually high proportion of female STEM students, 51% women vs 49% men.
Taiwan, whose delegation matched the size of Singapore and South Korea, won the award for the biggest deal announcement: GlobalWafers’ news that it will build a $ 3.6 billion deal. silicon chip manufacturing facility in Sherman, Texas. The GlobalWafers announcement was followed by another Taiwanese chip maker, Mediatek, which planned to set up a chip design center at Purdue University in Fayetteville, Indiana.
At the same time, outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan – a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2024 – announced a high-level trade mission to South Korea and a new “Korean city” in Ellicott City, Maryland, just south of Baltimore.
Unlike Obama-era SelectUSA summits, where Chinese delegations flooded them from any other country, Trump-era sanctions continued under Biden, and the Covid-19 lockdown left the few Chinese business leaders present as those from Fuqing, China-based The Fuyao Glass car windshield group feels as lonely as Chubb’s Evan Greenberg.
While France’s president and CEO of Forsee Power, Christophe Gurtner, won praise for opening a $ 13 million commercial vehicle battery factory in Hilliard, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, audiences were sharply reminded of Fuyao’s starring role in Netflix’s fly-on. -the- wall documentary American factory.
The documentary was about Fuyao’s factory in Moraine, Ohio, and about its billionaire owner Cao Dewang’s trials and tribulations of employing two thousand workers at an abandoned General Motors factory and subsequent corporate culture clashes with US workers and regulators.
The documentary was the first film purchased by the production company of former President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama.
Peter K Semler is the managing editor and founder of Capitol Intelligence. Previously, he was Washington, DC, bureau chief for Mergermarket (Dealreporter / Debtwire) in the Financial Times and led political and economic coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.