The American Chamber of Commerce in China is encouraged by the progress made on the items agreed in May as part of the 100-day action plan under the framework of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue. In several diverse economic areas, the two sides have signaled the will to overcome political obstacles that have contributed over many years to an increasingly unbalanced trade and investment relationship. Emblematic of this is the end of the Chinese ban on imports of U.S. beef, which the chamber has advocated since 2007 in its annual American Business in China White Paper.
The chamber will continue monitoring closely whether commitments are being fulfilled according to the spirit, as well as the letter, of agreements on issues such as the import of biotech products into China.
Tying up some historical loose ends, however, will not by itself redress the imbalances and create a relationship based on fairness and reciprocal treatment. Many longstanding and more recent market access restrictions and trade barriers remain, and our White Paper this year highlights massive discrepancies in the investment environments of the two countries. More than half our members believe that foreign companies are treated unfairly in China, and in 2016 China ranked 59 among 62 countries in the Total FDI Restrictiveness Index published by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. AmCham China believes that the benefits of open, vibrant markets extend well beyond foreign-invested enterprises, and will bring greater prosperity to all segments of Chinese society.
The economic relationship between the U.S. and China is strong – last year alone the two countries tallied almost $600 billion in trade and they have invested a combined $350 billion in each other’s economies. It is therefore in everyone’s interest for the two sides to maintain the pace of reform set over the past 100 days to make further substantial progress in the near future. We hope the talks being held this week under the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue will recognize the scale of the challenges ahead, and AmCham China will be working closely with both the Chinese and U.S. governments on setting priorities and monitoring progress toward a healthier, more balanced economic relationship.