U.S. business group urges
Washington to 'use every arrow' against China
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[April 18, 2017]
By Michael Martina
(Reuters) - The United States should "use every arrow" in its quiver to
ensure a level commercial playing field in China, a U.S. business lobby
said on Tuesday, warning that 2017 could be the toughest year in decades
for American firms in the country.
China's policies designed to support domestic companies and create
national champions have narrowed the space for foreign companies, the
American Chamber of Commerce in China said in its annual business
The White House has said U.S and Chinese officials are fleshing out a
pledge by leaders Donald Trump and Xi Jinping for a 100-day plan to cut
the U.S. trade deficit with China, which reached $347 billion last year.
But the chamber said it hoped more attention would be paid to market
access for American firms in China.
"Right now basically we are recommending everything you have in your
quiver - please use every arrow possible, with the understanding that
some of these points of leverage could be counterproductive to us,"
chamber chairman William Zarit said, referring to possible backlash from
He was speaking at a briefing on the report.
U.S. business groups want U.S. officials to act against Beijing on
market imbalances, but not push the world's two largest economies toward
a trade war.
Nonetheless, more vociferous complaints by American businesses mark a
shift from years past, when many companies eschewed the idea of forceful
action by Washington for fear of retribution by China.
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Foreign technology companies fear what they see as Beijing's plans for subsidies
of billions of dollars to domestic competitors and regulations that could force
the surrender of key technology or hit competitiveness.
uncertainty stemming from political and economic transitions in both the U.S.
and China, perceptions of a deteriorating investment environment for foreign
companies in China, and a slowing economy, 2017 will likely be one of the most
challenging years in decades for U.S. companies in China," the chamber said.
China is committed to further opening its economy, in a process whose speed is
"quite visible," the foreign ministry said.
"China is already one of the most open developing nations," spokesman Lu Kang
told a regular news briefing.
U.S. business leaders also worry that Trump's focus on reining in North Korea
could undercut U.S. commercial interests in China. Last week, Trump tweeted that
Beijing would get a better trade deal if it helped resolve the issue.
"I'm sorry to see there is a possibility we may lose some momentum on helping to
level the playing field with China in our economic relationship, due to the
situation in North Korea, if there is some kind of trade-off," Zarit said.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Christian Shepherd;
Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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