The investment by Chinese firm CRRC Sifang in Chicago will bring more job opportunities and contribute to the local economy, said Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, in a letter to congratulate a new railcar assembly plant Thursday.
Cui hailed the investment as "a new way of cooperation between China and the United States, and will certainly be followed by many more in the future."
As the investor, China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) Sifang America held a ground-breaking ceremony for a railcar assembly plant in Chicago's Southeast Side on the day.
Many distinguished guests, including two U.S. senators, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chinese Consul General in Chicago Hong Lei all showed up at the ceremony to give their congratulations.
CRRC Sifang America in 2016 won a 1.3-billion-dollar contract to supply 846 new 7000 Series railcars to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to replace nearly half of the agency's current railcar fleet.
As part of its proposal to the CTA, CRRC Sifang America committed to assembling the railcars in Chicago, creating some 170 new jobs for local residents.
Chicago Mayor Emanuel hugged CRRC Corporation Ltd.
"Construction and operation of the plant will provide many job opportunities for Chicago, and bring back to Chicago the manufacturing of railcar which left the city 36 years ago," said Hong.
Hong also expressed the hope that the plant will produce products not only for the City of Chicago, but also for many other states and cities in the United States and serves as an important manufacturing hub based in Chicago.
According to CRRC Sifang officials, the plant will begin production in 2019, with delivery of railcars starting in 2020.
Official statistics show the two-way investment between China and the United States totalled more than 170 billion dollars. China's direct investment in the United States reached 45.6 billion dollars in 2016, doubling the amount in 2015, while U.S. actual investment in China grew 55.4 percent in 2016.
Trade between the two has also skyrocketed in recent years. In 2016, bilateral import and export came to 578.59 billion dollars. China is now the United States' third largest export destination, the largest import source and the largest trading partner; while the United States is China's largest trading partner, the largest export destination, and the fourth largest import source.
The United States has 22 percent of its cotton production and 56 percent of soybean production exported to China.
To be specific, trade volume between China and the nine states in U.S. Midwest reached 92.6 billion dollars in 2015. Chinese enterprises invested nearly 13 billion dollars in U.S. Midwest, creating some 30,000 jobs, statistics provided by Chinese Consulate in Chicago showed.