BANKER: PATIENCE VITAL TO SUCCESS IN CHINESE TRADE

BANKER: PATIENCE VITAL TO SUCCESS IN CHINESE TRADE

To grab a successful piece of the burgeoning Sino-U.S. trade, companies must have patience, flexibility, the right Chinese partners and the right product, an American banker counsels.

For Americans, patience is the key ingredient, according to Richard Wong, Hong Kong-based vice president and country manager for China of Bank of America.Grooming that sometimes-rare virtue in Americans is essential, because the Chinese are hard negotiators and competition for business from Japanese and European interests is fierce, he says in remarks prepared for delivery today to a Chamber of Commerce meeting in Tacoma, Wash.

Let me warn you that in the Far East, one of the biggest criticisms of Americans is that they seek instant gratification, Mr. Wong says. That approach has no place in the China market.

A less-pushy attitude can result in big-time success.

Bank of America, based in San Francisco, is the lead institution in financing the $650 million Pingshuo open-cast coal mine in north-central China.

The mine - a joint venture between the local unit of Occidental Petroleum Corp. of Los Angeles and Chinese interests - is the biggest of its type in the world and one of China's most expensive projects.

Mr. Wang says the contracts took four-and-a-half years of hard negotiating to conclude.

But we thought we had the right project and the right partners, so we stuck to it, he said in his remarks.

BofA also handled financing for one of China's biggest import deals, the $1 billion purchase of 25 commercial jets from McDonnell Douglas Corp. of St. Louis.