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Tim Cook among few US CEOs attending China business summit

Tim Cook at the Summit in 2019

The China Development Forum has returned post-COVID, but other than Apple, notable US companies are either sending relatively minor executives, or boycotting the event entirely.

Tim Cook is a regular attendee of the Forum, and has previously even co-chaired the event. It's an annual conference sponsored by the Chinese government, and has been an opportunity for western corporations to speak with officials, and generally help US/China relations.

According to Bloomberg, however, as the conference returns after a break because of COVID, the attendee list is markedly different to previous years. Tim Cook is scheduled to appear in person, as is Pfizer Inc.'s Albert Bourla, but there are few other high-profile US CEOs going to Beijing.

Reportedly, organizers of the event are claiming that a hundred foreign representatives have registered to attend. However, Bloomberg says three unspecified sources report that American firms want to avoid attention from the US government as trade tensions continue.

Specifically, a number of companies are staying away rather than potentially be targeted by the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. This is a new congressional body led by Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher.

As well as Apple and Pfizer, the preliminary list of key US attendees include Ray Dalio, found of Bridgewater Associates, and Invesco's president, Martin Flangan.

US/China trade tensions have been escalating for some years. At the China Development Forum in 2018, Tim Cook told reporters that he hoped "calm heads" would prevail.