The American Chamber of Commerce in China
2016 Policy Priorities:
Encouraging China’s Constructive International Engagement
AmCham China will continue to encourage China to pursue convergence with, rather than divergence from, international norms to achieve its goals of reform and development.
A series of global trade and investment negotiations are currently underway with the potential to raise standards for global investment and trade. However, as the Chinese economy faces added pressure from outdated economic structures and these trade agreements redefine the regulatory norms of the 21st century, China must increase the pace of its reform process to compete in the future global economy.
Nevertheless, the continued lack of clarity in the stated reforms and reluctance to address the fundamental concerns of foreign investors, has led to doubt regarding the Chinese government’s stated intentions to reform and open the economy. The continued use of industrial policies that restrict foreign participation in China’s economy, the lack of transparency and excessive discretion in the enforcement of regulations, and the implementation of overly broad national security regulations, including “secure and controllable” related policies, are of great concern to our members. The persistence of these fundamental concerns indicates a divergence between the direction of China’s development and international norms.
We strongly believe that China should continue to embrace the benefits of global interaction and cooperation between people, organizations, and governments as it continues to develop. It should also actively pursue investment and trade policies that will allow it to participate in and benefit from these global developments. We welcome China’s global engagement and look forward to continued cooperation that will benefit both China and the global economy. As it continues to reform and develop, we strongly encourage China’s convergence with international norms and rules to successfully achieve these goals.
In particular, AmCham China urges improvements in the following three areas:
Fairness and Transparency: Economies benefit from the provision of a level playing field in an environment based on open competition for all companies through the transparent enforcement of regulations in accordance with the rule of law.
For the first time, inconsistent regulatory interpretation and unclear laws was the top challenge for respondents in our 2016 Business Climate Survey.
- We believe China should implement across the board its multiple commitments for 30-day notice and comment periods on draft laws and regulations across the board.
- We also encourage the Chinese government to improve transparency by releasing formal findings and case histories of anti-monopoly related investigations.
Dynamic Open Investment Environment: Sound investment generates economic activity regardless of the country of origin, and creates jobs, raises skills, expands consumer choice, and grows the economy.
Sixty-six percent of respondents to our 2016 Business Climate Survey described the completion of a high-standard US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) as very important or critical for improving the investment environment for US companies in China.
- We encourage the Chinese government to implement further market opening in the services and consumer sectors prior to the completion of a BIT to foster greater growth in these sectors.
- We encourage both governments to prioritize negotiation of a robust US-China BIT with a short negative list, narrowly crafted exceptions, and text that ensures the full benefits of the treaty can be effectively reached within China’s unique market.
Fair and Market-based Innovation: Innovation flourishes only in an environment where intellectual property is protected from infringement and excessive government regulation, and standards are set with broad participation. Policies encouraging innovation should be implemented in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner for both foreign and domestic companies.
Requirements to comply with Chinese standards and/or the inability to participate in standard-setting processes were cited as a top-five business challenge for technology and other R&D intensive industries in our 2016 Business Climate Survey.
- We believe that indigenization hampers innovation and competitiveness in any country, and urge the Chinese government to expressly welcome foreign-invested enterprises as equal participants in ongoing plans including “Manufacturing 2025.”
- We encourage the Chinese government to remove requirements for IP localization and to allow foreign companies to participate in standard-setting organizations on an equal basis with domestic companies.
- We also encourage the Chinese government to continue its progress improving the IPR environment through the expansion of the IP courts and the creation of a comprehensive trade secrets law.