Interview: U.S. financial industry veteran optimistic about U.S.-China relations


CHICAGO, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — “I am basically an optimist,” Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of global markets company CME Group, told Xinhua in a recent interview about his view of the U.S.-China relationship.
Noting that the two biggest economies are influential on the direction of other economies in the world, Melamed said he “look(s) at the arguments and discussions between our two nations in the light of optimism.”
“There are issues and some of them are difficult to overcome. But I remain an optimist that in the long run we will overcome them,” he stressed.
Melamed said there are many areas in which China and the United States can cooperate, and the first one is environment.
“The Chinese and many Americans feel that we should be doing more to preserve the nature of this planet Earth and overcome some of the erosions that are occurring … because it’s in every nation’s benefit,” he said.
“It is the duty of major nations like us to take that message and carry it and do something together,” he added.
Health, Melamed said, is another area for cooperation, as China has made advancement in medical research fields in recent years.
“These are things that both nations can work together. It’s for the benefit of the entire planet,” he said.
As for the ongoing trade disputes between the two countries, Melamed said the United States has its own set of problems.
“Our population should understand that what China has given us is a higher standard of living. We could not have bought so many iPhones and computers and everything else at the price,” he explained.
Melamed is widely acclaimed as a pioneer of financial futures. Under his leadership as chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the CME created the International Monetary Market (IMM) in 1972, the world’s first financial futures exchange, and launched currency futures.
In the following years, Melamed led the CME and IMM in creating a number of financial instruments, and spearheaded the creation and introduction of Globex, the world’s first electronic trading system.
Melamed played an important role in advancing China’s use of futures markets and application of various financial instruments, including electronic ones.
The financial industry veteran first went to China in the early 1980s. Afterwards, he visited it twice or three times a year.
“China’s been (through) a miraculous transformation in matter of three, four decades,” he said, adding “that’s an incredible achievement.”
“Never before in history have we seen this kind of transformation,” he noted.