US Election and the Impact on US-China Relations

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中文

For Immediate Release
Beijing, November 9, 2016

The American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China issues the following press statement with respect to the US Presidential Elections and the potential impact on US-China Relations under the new administration.

The US election has attracted much attention around the world and, as expected, certain candidates have made negative comments about China in the media, as has been the case in almost every US presidential campaign since 1992. This is unfortunate, as it oversimplifies a complex commercial relationship.

As in the past, incoming US presidents have recognized the importance of the US-China relationship. “Thankfully, campaign rhetoric is not official US government policy,” said AmChina China Chairman James Zimmerman. “US policy toward China the past four decades has been one of constructive engagement and global integration that has resulted in significant benefits to US businesses, workers and consumers,” he said.  

Going forward, as the United States and China become more economically integrated and interdependent, it’s important that the leadership of the world’s two largest economies work closely together to find common ground and resolve our differences.  

“We need to recognize that talking tough is a lot easier than thinking tough and making tough decisions, which is what presidents actually have to do. Isolating or penalizing China will not serve America’s interests, and only with engagement and commerce will the two largest economies of the world make progress to reach a consensus on the contentious issues such as national and regional security, human rights, Internet censorship, cybersecurity, terrorism, and market access and industrial policies,” said Zimmerman.

At the same time, China needs to be sensitive to the fact that much of the election-year discussion on trade results from the legitimate anxieties of American workers who are concerned about their futures and their place in the economy. There are also significant concerns among the American business community in China about the lack of economic reform and a trend toward freezing out foreign companies from the market. Policies that reduce transparency, hinder market access and stifle innovation continue to hold back the Chinese economy and hamstring both foreign and domestic private companies from being able to create jobs and help the economy grow. Many of these concerns are embodied in the Cybersecurity Law approved by the National People’s Congress earlier this week, which will likely do more damage to the dynamism of the high-tech sector in China than it will contribute to security. (AmCham China Statement on the Cybersecurity Law.)

“The concerns of American workers and companies is directly related to restrictions on market access for American goods, services and technology,” said Zimmerman. “We can indeed anticipate that in 2017 there will be a heightened level of attention to the basic fairness of the bilateral trade and investment relationship, and whether reciprocal treatment is afforded to American companies to ensure that they have the same opportunities in the China market as Chinese companies have in the US and other global markets,” he said.

While challenges remain, the truth is that China has made progress on a number of fronts. China has allowed its currency to steadily appreciate in value over the past decade, reduced trade distorting subsidies and granted greater market access to American goods and services. It has made important progress with respect to the protection of intellectual property rights. 

Exports to China - which have expanded in the past two decades by almost 300 percent - have strengthened America’s economy and created jobs for American workers across the country. As its middle class expands, China will continue to play a significant role as an export market for a wide selection of US goods and services.

In addition, Chinese foreign direct investment in the US topped nearly $46 billion in the past five years. Over 1,500 Chinese companies established operations in the US across all regions of the country. Chinese firms bring jobs and value the innovation and productivity of American workers, now employing over 80,000 of them, up from 15,000 just five years ago. American local economies benefit.

AmCham China looks forward to continuing to play a supporting role in promoting constructive ties between the US and China, as it has done so for over four decades.

Finally, and in response to critical commentary in Chinese media concerning the US election process, AmCham China emphasizes that the US electoral system is an exercise in public discourse, transparency, and civic engagement. Although quite imperfect and at times tumultuous, the US electoral system has worked for 240 years and, without question, has allowed the US to grow and thrive to become the largest economy in the world, a leading hub for technological innovation and education, and a societal magnet that attracts a diversity of new citizens from around the world. “Today, the American people have voted for their next president, and this is a system that is open, engaging, and reflective of the will of our citizens,” said Zimmerman.

 

Please direct media inquiries to Graham Norris at gnorris@amchamchina.org