US business asks easing of market barriers

Updated: 2013-10-31 08:26

By AMY HE in New York (China Daily USA)

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Board members of the US-China Business Council (USCBC) are in China to press senior government officials and business leaders for a reduction in what they say are market barriers that affect US companies doing business in the world's second largest economy.

China is "roughly a $300 billion market for American companies" and could be much larger without those barriers, USCBC said in a statement.

The USCBC board met with Vice-Premier Wang Yang and other senior government officials at "key economic agencies," according to the council. The meetings took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing, right before the government's important third plenum session beginning Nov 9, where the country's new leadership will discuss political and economic reform.

"During our meetings, USCBC will advocate that American companies incorporated in China should be treated equally, regardless of ownership," USCBC President John Frisbie said in a statement. "USCBC will also stress that both sides must continue to work together in promoting commercial cooperation and opposing protectionist trade and investment policies," he said. Frisbie said that "progress on market-access issues can be frustratingly slow."

The USCBC is a private non-profit organization of 220 American companies that conduct business in China, providing advisory and advocacy to its members. It will co-host the fourth annual US-China CEO dialogue in Beijing with the Boao Forum.

"With USCBC celebrating 40 years of operations in 2013, this year's annual board delegation visit to Beijing is as important as ever," Frisbie said in the statement. "Today, China is the United States' second-largest trading partner and third-largest export market. Now the US-China trade relationship strengthens America's economy and creates well-paying jobs for American workers across the country."

"There's obviously a desire for things to move faster, which is sometimes a challenge in China," Marc Ross, USCBC's communications director, told China Daily . "There are special interests; there are politics, different stakeholders. It's just a reminder that there's a need for ongoing dialogue."

"Things aren't going to happen overnight," he added, "but [they] are moving in the right direction."

Earlier this month, the council published its "2013 China Business Environment Survey Results," reporting corporate America's view of doing business in China.

The results showed that American businesses are concerned about a number of market issues, including uneven enforcement of Chinese law on American corporations and competition with Chinese companies, among others.

Respondents felt that "rules and regulations are not applied consistently or equitably in China, and that their companies are often not treated the same as Chinese companies with regard to regulation and implementation," according to the survey.