P&G CEO: Business community works as stabilizer and propeller in US-China relation

By Zhang Niansheng, People’s Daily

People’ Daily: Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet with President Trump at Mar-a-lago from April 6 to 7. Do you have any expectations for the incoming high level visit?

David Taylor: Strong, constructive trade and diplomatic relations are critical to the success of China, the United States and P&G. We share a common aspiration for social mobility and economic prosperity. And we share a common commitment to fostering an environment where free and fair competition thrives, markets grow and innovation flourishes.

I’m encouraged the leaders of the world’s two largest economies are creating a relationship based on trust, integrity and passion for winning. The challenges we face are real and the solutions are neither simple nor easy. However, I am confident the mutual desire to best serve the citizens of both countries will steer us towards lasting solutions that benefit China, the USA and the global economy.

People’ Daily: You have been dealing with China and witnessing the development of US-China relationships for a long time, how would you like to outline some cases or examples which lead to closer cooperation between the US and China?

David Taylor: As a corporate citizen of both countries, it is incumbent upon P&G to help build bridges and contribute to economic growth and job creation in our two countries. In fact, P&G’s entry into China nearly 30 years ago, as the country was beginning to open to the West, reflects our long-standing commitment to serving Chinese consumers.

Indeed our progress, the result of investments totaling $1.8B USD, can be seen across the country, not just in the products in the homes of Chinese consumers, but in the 17 manufacturing plants and distribution centers that supply these products, employing more than 7000 people and supporting hundreds of other Chinese businesses to support the Chinese economy. This investment in international trade supports jobs in the US as well. In fact, 1 in 5 of P&G’s US-based jobs support our international business in areas such as marketing, innovation and supply chain management.

China’s tremendous success story, of dynamic growth and economic development, is one that I personally witnessed when I first worked in China in the late 1990’s and that is immediately visible every time I visit the country. It is testament to both the resilience and bright future that lies ahead with continued investment, innovation and reform.

P&G benefits from a constructive US-China relationship and we need US and Chinese government policies that view this critical relationship in a balanced way. This calls for a thoughtful and measured approach to resolving issues, recognizing the interdependence of the world’s largest economies, and our impact on the global economy. As Ambassador Cui and I discussed, the business community plays an important role as a “stabilizer and a propeller” in the US-China relationship.

Promoting and advocating for a constructive US-China relationship is important to me in my role at P&G and the US-China Business Council, and a shared interest among many American and Chinese leaders I’ve met with including Vice Premier Wang Yang and China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

People’ Daily: People are worrying about the trade war between our two countries, how do you interpret the significance of trade to US-China relationship development?

David Taylor : Trade is equally important to both China and the US and has been an important driver of the positive relationship our countries have long enjoyed.

Simply put, a trade war would hurt both Chinese and American consumers and potentially damage the global economy. As with any economic relationship, there are always challenges and opportunities. I believe it is important to address these tensions with calm and reasoned dialogue, avoiding escalation.

China is a fast-paced, dynamic and globally connected marketplace. Chinese consumers are increasingly demanding and discerning – seeking recognized, high quality brands. This is even more evident today than it was when I worked in China nearly 20 years ago.

P&G benefits from US-China trade. China is P&G’s second largest market and P&G’s success in China is critical to P&G’s success globally. We are proud of P&G’s role as one of the largest consumer products companies in China.

However, our role and the role of business is beyond simple economic self interest. P&G has driven consumption and positive competition via innovation and contributed to the development of China’s consumer goods industry. We share best practice and experiences in manufacturing, R&D, sales, management and talent development, which in turn benefits the growth of local Chinese companies.

As bilateral relations are tested in these times of uncertainty, P&G is stepping up to tell our story of success in China and to encourage constructive, mutually respectful and open dialogue as the means to resolve differing points of view.

People’ Daily: As a successful entrepreneur, what is your idea on the significance of US-China relations?

David Taylor : Our Company was founded with a handshake between a candle maker and a soap maker who believed that everyday products could and should be of the highest quality, and sold honestly. We still create products with that handshake in mind. This foundation of trust between leaders and nations serves as an enduring model and one I’m confident will be embraced by President Xi and President Trump.