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Report: China still priority market for US firms

By Zhong Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-12 06:30
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A US cargo ship docks at the Qingdao Port, Shandong province. [Photo by Yu Shaoyue/For China Daily]

China remains a priority market for companies from the United States, and wholesale decoupling of the US and Chinese economies is in neither country's economic interest, according to a business report released on Tuesday by the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The group, representing US-based companies and often called AmCham China, called on China and the US to cooperate in areas of global common interest and identify opportunities to strengthen global public health infrastructure in 2021, so that the world is better prepared for the next public health crisis, according the 23rd edition of the "American Business in China White Paper".

In the meantime, the report said that the two countries should cultivate conditions to promote two-way foreign direct investment and trade, and help the global economy recover from COVID-19, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

They should also involve the business community and leverage their technology, expertise and experience in future public health and climate change initiatives, the document suggested.

In last year's white paper, AmCham China noted that 2019 had been a turbulent year due to the imposition of bilateral tariffs and deteriorating bilateral relations.

The white paper said that the events of 2020 only served to compound those trends, while COVID-19 created a new set of challenges. A majority of AmCham China's member companies reported that US-China bilateral tensions had become the top challenge to doing business in China.

"We hope that any effort to rebuild a healthy working relationship between the US and China enables the two sides to identify areas of global benefit to humankind and define common purpose in these areas," said Greg Gilligan, chairman of AmCham China.

"Of particular relevance are climate change and global public health," he said.

China is a priority market for over two-thirds of AmCham China's member companies, and its surveys indicate that nearly 85 percent are not considering relocating manufacturing or sourcing from the Chinese market, according to the report.

"In order to be globally successful, the US companies need to be competitive in the Chinese market," he added.

AmCham China is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization whose membership comprises 4,000 individuals from 900 companies, including Coca-Cola, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Honeywell, Walmart and Dell Technologies, operating across China.

Sun Fuquan, vice-president of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development, said that US enterprises continue to see business opportunities in China not only in areas such as the "going global" campaign of Chinese companies and growth in domestic consumption, but also in new areas such as the country's adoption of leading-edge digital technologies.

"China is not only the critical growth engine but also an innovation hub for our global business portfolio," said Farrell Wang, managing director of Consumer Health at Johnson & Johnson China, a New Jersey-headquartered multinational company.

With the largest population, a rising middle income group and consumption upgrades, China will remain a vast market for foreign companies, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China has never set restrictions on specific countries or companies.

"Unlike some countries, we don't abuse the concept of national security and adopt protectionist and discriminatory practices against certain countries and companies," she said.

Under the current circumstances, China's successful hosting of the first China International Consumer Products Expo demonstrates the country's firm determination to further promote high-level opening up.

China welcomes companies from other countries, including US companies, to continue to seek opportunities for development and cooperation in its market, she added.

China's trade with the US rose 50.3 percent year-on-year to 1.44 trillion yuan ($224.2 billion) in the first four months of this year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

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