Top firms urge Congress to snub protectionist bill

By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-29 07:15

More than 100 US multinationals, including big names such as Boeing, Microsoft and General Motors, urged the US Congress to reject protectionist legislation against China.

"Imposing unfair barriers to trade in the name of currency valuation or product safety is not a solution to the underlying concerns, and it ultimately undermines the important work that should be undertaken to prepare our economy and our workers for the realities of the global economy," the companies wrote in a letter to Congress on Wednesday.

A total of 119 companies and 35 industry associations from a range of sectors signed the letter, including Citigroup, Exxon Mobil and Caterpillar, according to local reports.

The letter comes as the US Congress is expected to consider a bill on China's currency policies in the following months.

"Conversely, policies that single out individual countries as responsible for the United States' broader concerns will not be effective and should be rejected, as should approaches that violate the United States' own international obligations or that improperly restrict access to the US market," they said in the letter.

"Doing so can only undermine US credibility and competitiveness and put US exports at substantial risk of retaliatory action."

It is not "surprising to see the multinationals defending their interests and potential opportunities in China", said Mei Xinyu, a researcher with Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.

Mei said that without the efforts of these companies, "trade conflicts between China and the United States would be more intense."

The US Chamber of Commerce also wrote a letter earlier this week to Congress, calling on it to reject bills forcing China to raise the value of its currency.

It said such legislation could jeopardize the US ability to increase American exports to its fastest-growing trading partner.

At the same time, the business association also expected China to make more efforts to further open its markets in the industrial and service sectors.

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