AmCham China White Paper Stresses Need to Keep Economic Reforms on Track
April 21, 2015 – The American Chamber of Commerce in China today released the 2015 American Business in China White Paper, stressing the need to press ahead with economic reform as the Chinese government finalizes the next five-year plan. Four policy priorities are emphasized: Rule of Law, Market Access, Standards and Intellectual Property Rights.
“This year’s White Paper shows that AmCham China member companies are committed to the market but continue to weather and adapt to a challenging business environment that is constantly evolving as China continues on a path of economic reform and sustainable development,” said AmCham China Chairman James Zimmerman. “Our companies understand and appreciate the complexities and difficulties that the Chinese leadership is confronted with as it rebalances the economy and drives reform, including the reforms incumbent in the upcoming 13th Five-Year Plan. But much work lies ahead for all of us in 2015 and beyond as the economy continues to mature and the government implements new laws and regulations.”
This is the 17th year that AmCham China has produced its White Paper. It is written by the chamber’s members and serves as an essential resource to academics and policymakers in both China and the US. It seeks to address many of the issues identified in the chamber’s annual Business Climate Survey, which was released in February.
Accompanying the White Paper is a summary of our policy recommendations in terms of the four policy priorities.
- Rule of Law, Transparency, and Enforcement
AmCham China believes that the commitments from China’s Third and Fourth Plenums to further open and reform the economy and to implement the rule of law throughout the country constitute positive steps forward. Non-transparent, unclear, and inconsistent rule-making was identified by 65 percent of our members as limiting their ability and willingness to invest in China, and has remained a top challenge to business for the last four years in a row. Effective rule of law, including fairness in enforcement, is essential to creating the level playing field needed to ensure that China’s market remains open to foreign business on an equal basis.
- Market Access
Across industries, market access restrictions are the primary factors reported by companies inhibiting their ability and willingness to invest in China. Our members agree that a bilateral investment treaty between the US and China will reduce the overall complexity of the Chinese regulatory environment and create market access benefits, including the ability to enter new markets, expand through acquisitions as well as organically, and allow greater flexibility in investment structure.
- Intellectual Property Rights
While more than 85 percent of members believe that the country’s enforcement of IPR has improved over the last five years, ineffective enforcement remains a concern for nearly 80 percent; and two-thirds believe the risk of IP and data leaks are greater in China than in other countries. We therefore encourage the Chinese government to unify enforcement of IP laws and regulations across the country through publication in detail of decisions predicated upon transparency and legal due process in accordance with law, while also urging greater protection for trade secrets.
Thirty-three percent of our member companies note that their ability and willingness to invest in China is handicapped by standards setting processes that exclude or treat FIEs unequally. Some 55 percent specifically identified standards that favor domestic technology and 39 percent cited limited foreign participation in standards-developing technical committees as factors that restrict their investments. We encourage the Chinese government to ensure that foreign-invested enterprises are allowed to participate in all phases of standards development activities, including technical committees and subcommittees, on an equal basis with domestically-invested enterprises.
“The 2015 White Paper further reflects that our member companies desire to play a positive and constructive role in the development of the country in a manner that is mutually beneficial to our companies and the communities in which they operate,” Zimmerman said. “We look forward to an open and candid dialogue with the Chinese leadership with respect to the issues raised in our White Paper.”
About AmCham China
The American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China is a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose membership comprises more than 3,800 individuals from over 1,000 companies operating across China. The chamber's nationwide mission is to help American companies succeed in China through advocacy, information, networking and business support services. AmCham China is the only officially recognized chamber of commerce representing American business in mainland China. With offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Shenyang and Wuhan, AmCham China has more than 60 working groups, and holds more than 300 events each year. Visit: www.amchamchina.org
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