AmCham Shanghai lobbies US to kick up exports
Updated: 2011-09-23 10:45
By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)
WASHINGTON - If the United States wants to revitalize its economy and create more American jobs, the policymakers should focus on increasing the export competitiveness in China, some representatives from the US business community told the administration and the Congress this week.
During its traditional annual Washington Door Knock trip, just concluded Thursday, delegates from the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai (AmCham Shanghai) met with senior administration officials, members of Congress and leading think tanks to express their views on the trade relationship with China.
Led by Brenda Foster, president of AmCham Shanghai, and Robert Roche, vice-chairman of AmCham Shanghai, 10 executives of US companies in China representing financial services, healthcare and agricultural industries expressed their opinions on several key issues, including the export competitiveness, China's currency issue, and Chinese investment in the US and the commerce environment in China.
"We try to cover all the bases related with China here and we look at the US-China relationship as a major enabler for US job creation because of the exports," Foster told China Daily.
China is America's fastest-growing major export destination and third-largest by volume behind only Canada and Mexico. Since 2000, the value of US goods exported to China has increased 467 percent compared to 55 percent for the rest of the world, according to AmCham Shanghai.
In 2010, US exports to China supported about 500,000 American jobs, based on US Department of Commerce data.
China has the potential to outpace Canada and Mexico to become America's top export market according to a recent AmCham Shanghai report, which predicts the growth will be driven by a growing Chinese middle class and expanding consumer base.
Therefore, the organization urges the US government to take "specific, targeted" actions to improve US export competitiveness in China.
The recommendations include more funding to the programs focused on enhancing US export competitiveness, a "robust, results-oriented" dialogue to address specific market access and regulatory issues with China, ratification of the US-(South) Korea Free Trade Agreement and Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.
AmCham Shanghai also calls for strengthened support for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a relaxed visa policy for Chinese business, leisure and student travel.
"We cannot expect that we walk into their offices and change their mind," Roche said. "Everyone who we have talked to is a busy person dealing with many other issues unrelated with China, so what we try to do is to educate them and bring the US-China relationship to their attention and give them what our thoughts are."
On the controversial Chinese currency issue, he told Congress that while currency remains an important political issue facing the US-China relationship, it is not a significant issue facing US companies doing business in China.
On Wednesday, with 50 US business associations, AmCham Shanghai signed a coalition letter opposing efforts in the Senate to take up legislation this fall designed to pressure China to accelerate the appreciation of its currency.
The AmCham Shanghai delegates said a law that attempts to force China to revalue its currency may be counterproductive to US companies and to US exports to China - a critical job creator, according to the organization.
AmCham Shanghai, founded in 1915, was the third American Chamber established outside the United States. It represents 3,500 members and is the largest single chamber of commerce outside the US, Roche said.
The two leaders of the organization believe in the positive trend of the bilateral trade relations.
(China Daily 09/23/2011 page2)