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China Needs to Ease Trade, Investing Barriers: Coke CEO

The Chinese need to “do a lot to ease restrictions on trade and investing,” Muhtar Kent, CEO of Coca-Cola, told CNBC Wednesday.

Kent spoke after he attended the meeting between American and Chinese CEOs, hosted by President Obama, with Chinese President Hu, who is in the United States on a state visit.

The United States and China unveiled $45 billion in export deals on Wednesday as Presidents Barack Obama and Hu Jintao sought to paper over deep rifts about trade, currencies and security.

“The mood was solemn, frank and was a positive mood in terms of what needs to be done to improve conditions of trade, conditions of cross-investment between the two countries," Kent said. "Issues such as IP protection, issues such as investment restriction, issues such as innovation policies, such as M&A restrictions."

“All of that was discussed very openly, and everyone is looking very positively toward the future in terms of the potential that still exists between the two countries, and the businesses of the two countries," Kent went on to say. "There’s a role here, that business could play increasing role to break down barriers to build a bridges.”

Kent said he also favors opening U.S. businesses to investment from China. He said he represents the US-China Business Council, which has initiated a new seminar called Invest in the United States, designed to encourage Chinese investment in the US.

Kent added that Coca-Cola has recently opened a fruit juice plant in Florida that caters to the Chinese market.