Our policy priorities — Build a Healthy Working Relationship, Ensure a Level Playing Field for FIEs, and Cooperate on Issues of Global Commons — reflect the opinions of the Chamber’s 3,300 members (half of whom are Chinese nationals) from 900-member companies headquartered not just in the US, but also Europe, Australia and other parts of Asia. They are drawn from multiple discussions among AmCham China members and supported by analysis of the annual Business Climate Survey and the American Business in China White Paper.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China
2021 Policy Priorities
US and China economic relations remain deeply intertwined. Two-way bilateral trade in goods totaled US $560 billion in 2020, despite the US-China trade war and the shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foreign business community faced twin challenges from a deteriorating US-China relationship and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. COVID-19 ignited conversations in the US and China about supply chain security, reshoring, and domestic production of critical technologies. Economic shutdowns, widespread lockdowns and other and COVID-19 control policies in China imposed acute operational challenges on the foreign business community. These factors, on top of a broader deterioration of the bilateral relationship in almost all aspects, combined to create a deeply uncertain policy environment for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) in China.
AmCham China continues to support the goals of the US-China Economic and Trade Agreement (Phase One Agreement) signed on January 15, 2020 and intended to reorient the bilateral economic relationship. We remain opposed to any effort at outright decoupling of the US-China relationship. The costs of decoupling from losing trade and foreign investment benefits for both countries would be significant and unlikely to generate clear winners.
We continue to encourage the Chinese government to make good on its promises for further economic reform and continued opening to the outside world. There are significant areas of contention in the US-China relationship, most of which offer no easy prospect for resolution. Despite the current friction in US-China relations, however, the success of multilateral efforts to address issues of the “global commons” like climate change and public health will be dependent on US-China cooperation.
As a focus of our advocacy efforts, these priorities will guide our conversations with the Chinese government, US government, media, academics, and other stakeholders throughout the year. We acknowledge that the challenges are significant and may not be resolved within the short-term. We hope, however, that these priorities can help form a framework for longer-term engagement and dialogue.
Our three Policy Priorities for 2021 are as follows:
Priority One: Build a healthy working relationship through results-focused engagement
Both governments prioritize communication at the working level and with strong business community engagement on both sides, as well as high-level dialogue not only on economic issues, but also dialogue on all spheres of the bilateral relationship including national security, law enforcement, and diplomacy.
Priority Two: Ensure that rhetorical commitments to “national treatment” and a level playing field for FIEs operating in China are met with faithful implementation on the ground
The Chinese government ensure that any market access commitments are accompanied by actions that guarantee a level playing field for all firms within those industries, regardless of the nationality of their shareholders, including within China’s Dual Circulation Strategy and New Infrastructure Initiatives announced in 2020. The government should abandon the use of implicit, unpublished, or internal guidance to replace US or other foreign-made products/services with domestically-made equivalents.
Priority Three: Identify and develop patterns of cooperation on issues of global commons, particularly public health and climate change
The US and China governments engage in dialogue not just on trade and economic issues, but also intensify negotiations on national security, law enforcement, military-to-military, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and other spheres of the bilateral relationship to improve coordination and understanding across each of these spheres.
2020 White Paper Summary & Policy Priorities Matrix
To distill AmCham China’s key messages and policy priorities, the 2020 White Paper Summary document maps our key recommendations by industry to AmCham China’s 2020 overarching Policy Priorities and at the same time reinforces the substance of the Policy Priorities with concrete examples of the kinds of challenges facing the American business community in China.