A growing number of U.S. companies in China are getting behind the Trump administration’s call for some reciprocity when it comes to trade and investment in China.
According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, the business community is backing the idea that China should respond in kind in the access given to Chinese businesses in the U.S. or face restrictions that are in the U.S. markets. While the American companies in China in the past have shied away from fighting with Beijing, after years of little resolution, companies are more willing to embrace a tougher position.
“There’s a strong sense that something has to be done,” said William Zarit, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, who led a chamber delegation in Washington meetings last week. Zarit said American companies in China and President Trump are on the same page for a tougher approach to China. “Reciprocity came up a lot,” he said in the WSJ report. The report noted that the group’s latest annual membership survey revealed that four out of five companies feel that they are less welcome in China than before and a declining number of its members think China is an attractive place to invest.
The move on the part of the American businesses in China comes at a time when President Trump has been getting tougher on China — or has been saying he will. Since Trump won the election, American businesses have been signaling they may stay away from China. In January, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said the percentage of companies that have China in their top three investment targets dropped to 56 percent. That number reached its lowest point since 2009, the data confirmed. The survey results were based on the responses of 462 American Chamber of Commerce in China members, which represents a total of 900 companies in China, about 80 percent of which are American.