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1939 Chinese New Year Celebration in Portland Chinatown, Oregon Historical Society

The normalization of U.S.-China relations 40 years ago was a historic moment achieved after years of negotiation. Since that time the two countries have engaged in exchanges, cultural and educational cooperation, people-to-people activities and international and sub-national agreements. This historic bilateral relationship has driven unprecedented reforms in China and opened the way for China’s positive global relations.

Business and commerce led the way and still remain among the best means of bringing people together around their common interests. Businesses in China and Oregon are leading the way in building productive partnerships in sustainable development sectors. Additionally, cultural, educational, scientific exchanges have advanced the arts and sciences and during our 40-year relationship, the U.S. and China have found ways to work together on issues ranging from climate change and nuclear non-proliferation to terrorism, poverty, and global health.

In the 40 years since normalization began between our two countries, there have been challenges and problems, and there remain difficulties and areas of fundamental disagreement between the governments of the United States and China that have been the cause of hardship and suffering for the populations of both countries. These disagreements should not overshadow the mutual advantage that the U.S.-China relationship holds for sustainable development in business, cultural and educational relations and job creation in both countries. In fact, the current volume of trade between the United States and China ensures the two economies are more inextricably linked than ever. The fates of both countries depend on one another. For the benefit of both nations and the world, these areas of disagreement must be addressed in an honest, direct, but mutually respectful way that can defuse rather than escalate tensions.

At present, China as Oregon’s #1 trading partner, imported $5.8 billion of goods from Oregon, making it one of only four U.S. states that enjoys a trading surplus with China. Oregon’s exports to China supported 31,200 jobs in Oregon in 2016 alone and the world’s second largest economy is Oregon’s largest source of international tourists and international students attending our higher education institutions.

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