The Real Deal New York

Chinese ambassador says relationship with US is improving, and that’s good for NYC real estate

Cui Tiankai lauds Mar-a-Lago summit as game changer
By Konrad Putzier | April 24, 2017 03:20PM

From left: Yi Gang, Cui Tiankai and Donald Trump (Credit: Getty Images)

China’s ambassador to the United States said the relationship between the two countries has improved markedly since Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping met in Florida earlier this month.

“Frankly, maybe many of you were a bit concerned at the end of last year and the beginning of this year about where this relationship was going,” Cui Tiankai told the audience Monday at the International Finance & Infrastructure Forum, hosted by Bloomberg L.P. and the China General Chamber of Commerce. “I think for a while the word uncertainty dominated discussions about this relationship. But fortunately, thanks to the joint effort of so many people, things have turned for the better.”

The prospect of Trump starting a trade war with China rattled many in New York’s real estate industry, which has grown dependent on Chinese investments. “Entering into a trade war is the fastest way to get us into a recession,” Chris DeMuth, founder of the Connecticut-based investment firm Rangeley Capital told The Real Deal in January. In his early days as U.S. President, Trump repeatedly railed against China’s trade policy and vowed to brand the country a currency manipulator, but recently pulled a 180.

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Tiankai took a subtle stab at Trump’s zero-sum view on trade, which holds that China has been “winning” at the expense of the U.S., countering that growth in trade “has brought tremendous benefit to people in both countries.”

“Continued strong growth of such economic and trade relations,” he said, “would certainly make both countries winners.”

Meanwhile the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, Yi Gang, acknowledged that the country’s central bank is still embroiled in a “fight to control the asset bubble” in China and that “quite high” real estate prices in major cities are part of the problem.

“Although the overall picture for the Chinese economy has been fairly good and improving,” he said, “in terms of the financial system we still have some risk.”