On May 19, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hosted a roundtable briefing at Diaoyutai in Beijing with foreign business group leaders to mark the 70th anniversary of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), an organization with whom AmCham China has worked closely for many decades. AmCham China Chairman Colm Rafferty was invited to deliver in-person remarks at the event. AmCham China Board members Sherry Carbary and Fernando Vallina also attended in person. Vice Premier Hu Chunhua, CCPIT Chairman Ren Hongbin, and various ministers and vice ministers of relevant government agencies were also present.
In his remarks, Rafferty shared that since AmCham China was founded in 1919, the organization has been a strong advocate for a stable and balanced US-China trade relationship. He said that AmCham China has been a critical and trusted partner for both sides in the bilateral relationship and highlighted the Chamber’s role as an important commercial bridge at a time when there is less government-to-government interaction between the United States and China.
Highlighting this week’s release of the 24th annual edition of the AmCham China White Paper – a comprehensive analysis of China’s economic policies and practices impacting foreign trade and investment – Rafferty expressed appreciation for the close attention paid to the report by US and Chinese policymakers in past years, as they work towards greater mutual understanding and successful resolution of outstanding company concerns. Raffety said that China is an important market for American companies, and AmCham China supports China’s long-term goal of opening up and further economic globalization. Rafferty further explained that China’s clear long-term strategic development goals, significant market opportunity, and a highly supportive and predictable business environment has traditionally formed a key part of what has made China attractive to AmCham China member companies. However, due to the evolving nature of the pandemic and current restrictions, he said that member companies feel that the business environment has recently become a lot less predictable.
Chairman Colm Rafferty and Premier Li Keqiang exchange greetings.
Rafferty shared that two thirds of AmCham China members listed China as a top market priority towards the end of last year, but that recent Flash Survey data found that more than half of member companies said they have already either delayed or decreased investments in China, while 58% said they have already decreased revenue projections for 2022. After urging the government to achieve a more optimal balance between pandemic prevention, economic development, and opening-up of the country, Rafferty concluded by expressing appreciation for this opportunity for constructive dialogue, emphasizing that AmCham China and its member companies look forward to continued contributions to, and support for, China’s economic development.
Premier Li thanked the contributions that foreign business groups have made in China’s economic development, adding that the Chinese market continues to have tremendous potential for, and is receptive towards, foreign investment. He acknowledged that the pandemic had severely disrupted the daily operations of foreign businesses in China. Premier Li further said that China will continue to address common issues including the resumption of work, logistics, and international travel to further optimize the business environment. Finally, he said China also attaches high importance to international cooperation in vaccines and the pharmaceutical industry.
AmCham China Participates in CCPIT panel
Earlier in the day, Rafferty spoke on a panel event alongside CCPIT Chairman Ren Hongbin, where he stressed that pandemic-related uncertainties remain a top business challenge for member companies and called for a more streamlined process of quarantine and an easing of travel requirements. He emphasized that AmCham China has diligently advocated for an easing of travel restrictions to China, and thanked relevant government stakeholders for passing on the Chamber’s concerns on these issues.
Chairman Rafferty speaking at the roundtable, “Joining Hands to Overcome Difficulties and Revitalize the World Economy.”
President Xi Opens CCPIT Summit
President Xi Jinping delivers a video speech to open the Summit.