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For better infrastructure, does the U.S. need China?

Posting in Cities

When it comes to infrastructure in the United States, the needs are massive.

According to a new report from the United States Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. needs $8.2 trillion between 2013-2030 in energy, transportation, and water-related infrastructure projects (a conservative estimate that doesn't take into account infrastructure needs caused by climate change). And where does it hope to get that money? Not from dwindling U.S. public funds, but from, who else, China.

The report calls China -- the second-largest goods trader with the U.S. -- "the most important" new player in a "dramatically changed global economy." The Chamber of Commerce argues that the United States needs to take advantage of the China's huge pool of capital. But the report also acts as a document to convince Chinese businesses that the U.S. is a good investment and gives advice for completing a successful partnership with recommendations for handling everything from U.S. national security concerns to its regulatory landscape.

“Two-way infrastructure investment has emerged as one of the most promising opportunities to spur economic growth and job creation in both the United States and China,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue. “This type of investment would benefit both of our countries, strengthening our relationship and enhancing global stability and prosperity.”

Chinese businesses are already investing far and wide in costly infrastructure projects around the world. Some recent Chinese-funded projects include a nuclear power plant in the United Kingdomairport infrastructure in Sri Lanka costing $292 million, and a $700 million telecom contract won by China's Huawei Technologies Co. in Denmark. And China hasn't exactly shied away from investments in the United States. One estimate shows China has invested $57.8 billion in the U.S. since 2005, but most of that is in the finance sector not infrastructure. That's also far less than the $455 billion per year the Chamber of Commerce says the U.S. needs to spend each year to keep our infrastructure in good shape.

Read the full report.

[h/t Quartz]

Photo: Flickr/Phil's 1stPix

— By on October 28, 2013, 10:32 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure