[Fox Business] CEOs courting China’s Xi Jinping at APEC summit in San Francisco

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Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to be the guest of honor at a dinner with top U.S. business leaders on Wednesday in San Francisco as he seeks to curry favor with the American business community amid China’s recent slump in enticing foreign investment.

Business leaders are reportedly shelling out up to $40,000 for a table of eight at the banquet for Xi, who will be making his first trip to the U.S. in over six years to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. 

His visit comes as U.S. and Western companies have sought to “de-risk” their supply chains by relocating some of their operations out of China after the COVID pandemic exposed vulnerabilities, while the internal repression and military ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have amplified concerns about the country’s future. Xi and China hope to reverse that trend by showing the country as safe for long-term investment and growth.

Among the American CEOs and business luminaries expected to attend include Citigroup’s Jane Fraser, Exxon Mobil’s Darren Woods, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk, according to a report by Bloomberg. 

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A full list of those expected to be in attendance is yet to be released. Representatives for those business leaders either did not respond to a request for comment from FOX Business or were unable to confirm those executives’ planned attendance as of Tuesday.

Reuters reported that executives of some companies who spoke privately to the outlet indicated they would avoid posing contentious questions to Xi given their potential impact on business operations in China and potential political fallout in the U.S.

The dinner with Xi will occur on the sidelines of the APEC forum after he holds a highly anticipated day of meetings with President Biden as the two look to ease the economic and geopolitical tensions between the two countries that have flared up recently. 

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China and the U.S. have engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange of trade restrictions on high-end technologies like semiconductors that power artificial intelligence systems. 

The Chinese government has also drawn the ire of the U.S. by ramping up subsidies to prop up domestic industries, while China has taken issue with U.S. tariffs on certain imported goods. 

Xi’s visit comes against the backdrop of China’s military build-up and the threat it poses to Taiwan’s ability to remain a self-governing democracy over the long term, in addition to the CCP’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang, Tibetans and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. 

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Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., chairman of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party, wrote a letter to the leaders of the two organizations that arranged the dinner with Xi – the National Committee on U.S. China Relations (NCUSCR) and the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC).

“Beyond the standard price to attend the event, USCBC and NCUSCR, are also selling $40,000 tickets to Americans and American businesses to sit at Xi’s table,” Gallagher wrote. “It’s unconscionable that American companies might pay thousands of dollars to join a ‘welcome dinner’ hosted by the very same CCP officials who have facilitated a genocide against millions of innocent men, women, and children in Xinjiang.”

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He also requested that the organizers provide a complete list of individuals, businesses, financial institutions and other entities that purchased tickets to the Xi dinner – as well as a separate list of individuals that paid the fee to sit at Xi’s table – to the select committee by Nov. 21.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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