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With the world's economic recovery showing no signs of improvement, we have seen countries resorting to protectionist measures as the last straw to save their ailing economies. Still, it is shocking to learn that the United States is proposing to shut Chinese companies out of the US market.
A draft report by the US House Intelligence Committee accuses two Chinese technology firms - Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp - of posing a national security threat to the US. The report says, "China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes."
Such allegations do not hold water and only stain the image of the US itself and dampen the enthusiasm of Chinese companies to do businesses in the US.
Huawei and ZTE, which are among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications equipment and cell phones, have expanded their business in roughly 140 countries. Both non-governmental companies have grown through entrepreneurship and technological innovation and have been developing their international business based on market economy principles.
Yet this is not the first time the two have been put under scrutiny in the US. In the past, US lawmakers have blocked several proposed deals between the two Chinese companies and their US business partners.
This is not the first time either that Chinese companies have fallen prey to American claims that they are a national security risk. A 2005 plan by a Chinese oil company to bid for Unocal Corp was aborted due to an administrative order from Washington that also cited national security concerns.
In the run-up to the presidential election in the US, we have heard President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney both blaming China for the US' woes with increasing frequency. So it will come as no surprise should the report fuel even more vehement China bashing.
Yet both candidates should be reminded that the shackles on Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese firms will in the long run only hinder job creation in the US.
For the benefits of both economies, US politicians should set aside their prejudices and respect the facts. They should let business be business and refrain from dragging Chinese companies into the battle for the White House.
(China Daily 10/09/2012 page8)