On June 23, AmCham China held the 2022 Government Affairs (GA) Conference. Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the 8th annual Conference was held virtually with nearly 200 attendees.
The annual GA Conference serves as a platform for GA professionals and government officials to exchange insights, analyze current economic trends, discuss challenges and opportunities facing foreign-invested enterprises in the China market, and contextualize the role of government affairs for the business community.
Against the backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions and heightened political tensions, this year’s conference focused on prospects for the future of the Sino-American relationship and how GA professionals can best advise their firms whilst navigating these uncertainties.
Qiang Lu, Divisional Vice President of Abbott Laboratories and Vice Chair of AmCham China’s Chinese Government Affairs Committee (CGAC), was the host of the virtual Conference. After welcoming guests, he handed things over to AmCham China President Michael Hart for an opening address. Hart began by noting the important role played by AmCham’s GA community in shaping AmCham’s advocacy efforts. He acknowledged recent challenges faced by American businesses operating in China, including bilateral political tensions and COVID-19 restrictions, which have forced members to carefully review their supply chains and activities in China. Nevertheless, members are not wholesale looking to exit the China market. Hart cited the results of AmCham’s latest China Business Climate Survey (BCS) Report, in which over two-thirds of AmCham members regard the China market as a priority investment destination. He urged both governments to work to address bilateral tensions and business concerns.
Hart then introduced U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns who spoke to attendees to kick-start the Conference agenda.
The first panel centered on the challenges and opportunities in US-China relations. The panel was moderated by Zhou Bing, Vice President of Dell Technologies and Chair of AmCham’s China CGAC. He was joined by two panelists, Professor Chen Dingding of Jinan University School of International Relations and ASG Senior Vice President Paul Triolo. The panelists noted that US Secretary of State Blinken’s address on the Biden administration’s China strategy came during a point of significant bilateral tension, and that his remarks showcased the Biden administration’s strategy shift from “competition, confrontation, and cooperation” to “invest, align, compete.” The panelists agreed on the importance of developing strong engagement strategies with both governments and understanding both countries’ politics and policymaking processes, not only at the central government level, but also at local levels. Both panelists also emphasized the need for more US-China dialogues and cooperation on public health and climate change, with Professor Chen saying he hoped for other areas of cooperation—maintaining an inclusive global trade order and easing inflation through tariff reductions.
The second panel was moderated by Christine Yuan, General Manager of Corporate Relations at Rio Tinto China and Vice Chair of AmCham China CGAC with guests: Michelle Lu, Regional HR Business Partner of Asia Pacific at Albemarle; Jennifer Chan, Director and Associate General Counsel of Asia Pacific and Head of Legal of Greater China at Meta; and Jim Zhang, Chairman of China ISC Council at Honeywell. The panel provided a cross-functional look at the GA profession and its implications. Chan highlighted the important function of the GA department to provide high-quality projects and investment directions based on their insights on the general trend of government policies and strategies. Lu mentioned the need for the GA team to increase internal information sharing and communication which in turn, support the responsibilities of other teams in the company. During his remarks, Zhang said that it’s imperative GA departments keep abreast of the new policies and approval processes for the resumption of work during pandemic outbreaks to prevent delays in the production process. The panelists agreed that given the increasing uncertainties of the global landscape amid the COVD-19 pandemic, the role of GA is more important than ever. All of the panelists called for organizations to foster cultures of collaboration to face these challenges.
The final address of the Conference was the CGAC Mid-Year Review, delivered by Zhou Bing, Vice President of Dell Technologies and Chair of AmCham China’s CGAC. Bing summarized AmCham China’s key achievements resulting from Chinese government engagement from January to June 2022. The achievements included: strengthening engagement with the Chinese government at both the central and local level, as well as co-organizing ad-hoc events with the Chinese government to keep industries up-to-date. Also during this same time period, Bing said that AmCham China has worked to strengthen the Chamber’s sustainability and CSR functions through events like the Social Impact Initiative.
If you’re interested in learning more about AmCham China’s Chinese Government Affairs Committee (CGAC) or want to get involved, email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org