China’s deputy consul general in New York City visited Dayton Wednesday, pointing to Moraine manufacturer Fuyao Glass America as an example of how China and the United States can mutually benefit if the nations can work out trade differences.
“We want more Fuyaos coming over here,” Jin Qian said at Fuyao after touring the massive plant off West Stroop Road.
Qian made his remarks after months of escalating tariffs and trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that American negotiators are expected to travel to China next week to resume trade talks.
Chinese auto glass producer Fuyao Group created Fuyao Glass America in 2014 and has invested $600 million into the former GM plant since then, employing 2,400 people and investing a further $30 million to $40 million into the facility every year. Today, the company says the complex is the largest automotive safety glass plant in the world.
Most recently, Fuyao invested $3 million into the plant after winning the glass business for Fiat-Chrysler SUVs, such as the Jeep Wrangler. Moraine-produced glass can also be found in the Ford F-150, the BMW X-series, the Toyota RAV 4 and many other domestically produced vehicles.
“There is no zero-sum game,” Qian said after touring Fuyao, referring to the notion that foreign imports can weaken a country economically.
In 2014, Fuyao Chairman Cho Tak Wong initially bought 1.4 million square feet and 110 acres of Moraine’s vast former GM assembly plant. The automaker ceased operations there in December 2008. Qian, after touring Fuyao, said some Chinese citizens were puzzled by that investment, wondering why the company did not invest in China or Asia.
Although its national gross domestic product is second only to America’s, China still sees itself as a developing economy, with 700 million residents who live on less than $5.50 a day. Qian said China’s per-capita GDP is only 17 percent of the U.S. measure.
But Jeff Liu, president of Fuyao Glass America, said manufacturers must “follow the customer.” The Moraine plant was opened to serve automakers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
“We’re like a role model” for other Chinese companies, Liu said. “We’re like a pioneer.”
China is the third largest foreign market destination for Ohio-produced goods, Qian said in a meeting Wednesday with Cox Ohio Media Group executives and WHIO-TV. Ohio exported $3.7 billion, a decrease of 4 percent from the previous year, according to a March 2019 state report.
“There should be many more Fuyaos here,” he said. “There should be more exports from here (Ohio) to China. It’s a bigger market. People want to buy more.”
The consul general’s office represents Chinese nationals in the United States, both students and tourists, mostly dealing with visa issues.
There are about 40,000 international students in Ohio, and about 40 percent of those are from China, Qian said.
Also, Chinese tourists spend about $100 million “per day” in the United States, although Qian acknowledged that most of that spending happens in coastal cities, such as San Francisco or New York City.
“We hope to be partners instead of rivals,” Qian also said. “We can be good competitors instead of rivals.”
Qian said he planned to visit Miami University and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force while in Ohio. To Cox executives, he recalled how 20th century history brought the two nations together as allies against Japan and the Axis in World War II.
“Chinese and American people shed blood together in the Second World War,” he said.
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