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American businesses complain of worst barriers in decades in China


On April 18, the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham) released its 2017 annual report (paywall), finding that more of its members than in decades are experiencing an unwelcoming business environment in China. Bloomberg reports that the chamber concluded, “The pace of economic reforms and market opening has been slow and faltering,” meaning that while factors such as regulatory transparency and intellectual property protection have improved, the overall perception of how much the Chinese government tilts the field in favor of Chinese businesses has increased greatly. Eighty-one percent of AmCham members said they felt less welcome in 2016 than in years before, indicating that 2017 may be perceived as the worst year yet unless regulatory trends change.

In announcing the results of the assessment, AmCham chairman William Zarit urged Washington to “use every arrow possible” against China to win back market access for American firms, rather than doggedly focusing on the U.S.-China trade deficit. Reducing the $347 billion trade deficit is the stated central goal of the ongoing “100-day” negotiations between the U.S. and China, which started on April 7 to avert a trade war after the Trump-Xi summit at Mar-a-Lago.


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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.