New York, N.Y., February 14, 2012 – As this week’s visit by Vice President Xi Jinping focuses attention on the complexity of U.S. relations with China, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) is urging leaders from both countries to tackle important commercial and economic matters in order to keep this mutually beneficial relationship on an even keel.
“The U.S.-China relationship extends across an array of geopolitical as well as economic issues, and our economies are now deeply intertwined,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter M. Robinson. “On balance, it provides significant benefits for both countries. However, there remain too many commercial and economic issues handicapping the ability of American firms to compete in China and in third markets, thereby placing our workers at a disadvantage and impeding progress on the overall relationship. These need to be urgently addressed.”
Mr. Robinson said major trade and investment priorities for American companies in China include, but are not limited to:
- improving market access for key industries
- resolving longstanding currency disputes
- improving protection of intellectual property rights, and
- ensuring competitive neutrality for state-owned enterprises.
“We urge the two governments to focus on resolving these issues through diplomatic means, both bilateral and multilateral, and to reinforce existing forums like the WTO, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade,” he said.
The USCIB president noted recent progress by China toward closer bilateral ties with other countries, including last week’s signature of a trade and investment agreement with Canada. “We should be looking seriously at developing new agreements, such as a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with China,” said Mr. Robinson. “These could ensure continued liberalization of key markets and provide important security to American investments in the country. Absent such agreements, American companies and workers could be disadvantaged when competing in China with companies from countries already benefitting from such agreements. We shouldn’t be sitting on the sidelines.”
Mr. Robinson also called attention to an October USCIB statement on China’s compliance with its WTO accession commitments. “As we noted in that statement, China has made important progress, but much work remains. Priority issues include improving transparency in China’s regulatory environment, the need for fair and independent regulators, greater market access, non-discriminatory treatment and inadequate intellectual property laws. We urge the U.S. and Chinese governments to take up these issues on a priority basis, and we stand ready to provide business views to help ensure a fully informed discussion.”
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and prudent regulation. Its members include top U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing leading international business organizations, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More information is available at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, VP communications, USCIB
(212) 703-5043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.