Thursday, January 21

Xi calls on ex-Starbucks CEO to boost China-US ties

Beijing | Chinese President Xi Jinping has encouraged ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, still a majority shareholder in the coffee giant, to warm up relations between Beijing and Washington, state media said Thursday.

The Head of State was responding in writing to a letter from the American boss, whose cafes are omnipresent in China, with more than 4,700 points of sale and 58,000 employees.

Moderate Democrat Howard Schultz, 67, had for a time considered running as an independent candidate in the 2020 US presidential election against Donald Trump.

Under the Republican billionaire’s tenure, Beijing-Washington relations fell to an all-time low, with Mr. Trump launching a trade war.

“I hope Starbucks will work to promote China-US economic and trade cooperation and develop bilateral relations,” Xi Jinping wrote to Howard Schultz, according to the New China Agency.

“China will offer companies around the world, including Starbucks and other American companies, an even larger space to develop in China,” the head of state also promised.

His comment comes two weeks after the conclusion of an agreement in principle between China and the European Union (EU) on the reciprocal protection of their investments. An event that may have worried the American business community.

Howard Schultz left Starbucks in June 2018, having grown from a group of 11 establishments when it arrived in 1982 to more than 28,000 coffee shops around the world.

He had met Xi Jinping during his state visit to the United States in 2015, at a reception in Seattle (northwest) where the guests had toast with Starbucks coffee, according to the American group.

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