A win-win for W.Va. and China
We don’t know what the Chinese equivalent of the old American warning of cutting one’s nose off to spite one’s face is, but let us hope it is kept in mind in Beijing.
Last year, West Virginians got wonderful news: China Energy, owned mostly by that nation’s government, planned to invest $83.7 billion in our state. The money is to flow in during a 20-year period.
Then the dispute over Chinese trade practices made headlines. President Donald Trump said the United States would levy new tariffs against imports of products from China. Beijing reacted in kind.
And this week, it was revealed China Energy officials have canceled a planned trip to an energy conference in Pittsburgh. It had been hoped an announcement about investments in West Virginia would be made during that visit.
The trade dispute between China and the United States has been blamed for the cancellation.
Of course, how and what happens next in the spat between our two countries could have an economic impact on China Energy’s plan. Tariffs can have wide-ranging effects on the costs of doing various kinds of business.
But it seems more likely canceling the trip was a means of expressing Chinese officials’ displeasure with Trump’s action. It would be a way of reminding Americans — West Virginians, in particular — of the cost of incurring enmity in Beijing.
Let us hope canceling the energy conference trip is just a small bump in the road toward Chinese investment in our state. We have good reason, not just blind hope, for that.
China is an enormous consumer of energy. The shale gas revolution has made West Virginia a major exporter of gas. Chinese involvement here could be just as good for the people of that nation as for us.
This could be a win-win for both West Virginia and China — providing personal disagreements are not allowed to get in the way.