Following the G20 meetings in Hangzhou this weekend, we are encouraged by President Xi Jinping’s call for structural reform, free trade, and the development of policies to encourage innovation as a driver of robust and sustainable economic growth. For the sake of the global economy and to counter the rising tide of anti-globalization, it is important that the G20 countries move decisively to implement the needed reforms, including the recommendations advanced by the B20 leadership. In addition, it is important for China itself to move forward with its own structural reforms in order to meet the challenges of a slowing economy and problematic over-capacity.
“President Xi accurately raised the alarm on the need to counter the increase in protectionism around the world; but actions speak louder than words and the ball is in China’s court to implement its own needed domestic reforms and to provide greater market access for foreign goods, services and technology,” said James Zimmerman, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. “And calls to utilize innovation as an economic driver are indeed well-taken but should reflect policies that encourage an environment that promotes fair, market-driven innovation that is open to all market participants, and not just a few domestic champions,” he said. Policies such as “Made in China 2025” put innovation at the forefront, yet many of these pilot programs exclude the US companies best suited to helping China's economy move up the value chain. Many companies struggle to bring innovative products to China due to domestic standards that don't conform to the norms of the international business community. Independent or duplicate standards keep China isolated from the global economy, and take the country a step back from the fantastic strides it's made over the past 30 years of opening up and reform. To keep the economy on track, China should consider US companies as valuable partners for innovating in the international arena.
AmCham China also encourages the United States and China to continue negotiations on the US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) – a process that has been ongoing since 2008. “It is our understanding that the BIT negotiations are grinding forward, slowly but surely. There were no real breakthroughs in the recent negotiations, although good progress has been made. It’s still a work in progress and the business community continues to be patient in waiting for closure on the BIT,” said Zimmerman. The US-China BIT would likely be the largest market liberalization exercise since China’s accession to the WTO in 2001. China's work on investment policies such as the BIT will continue to be a critical component for future growth opportunities.