Chinese strategy towards the American companies in China


The American commercial presence and the existence of the American companies in China is in the interest of the United States of America, to maintain its competitiveness at the global level and for the benefit of the country, American companies must be in China.  Despite what we hear from some American officials who claim that our companies support the Chinese Communist Party, and that these American companies need to get out of China, because since our American companies do business in China, they pay taxes, they hire people, they transfer technology, and all of that benefits the Chinese economy. Hence, many leaders in Washington are criticizing American business in China, claiming that they also support and depend on the Chinese Communist Party.

 Nevertheless, the correct point of view is that the benefits of the presence of American companies in China far outweigh the risks. To stay competitive for the benefit of our country, American companies must be in China.  Given the existence of major advantages for the United States of America from being in China, as a stress test or a fitness center for American companies (which is the same idea as the idea of ​​“Jürg Wottke”, who resigned from the position of President of the European Chamber of Commerce in China some time ago).

 Here lies the American influence through its companies in China, through the way the United States manages its companies, including (our democratic values, workers’ rights, environmental protection, rule of law, protection of intellectual property, anti-corruption).  Accordingly, the value of the presence of these American companies is in favor of the American values ​​themselves and their tactical deployment within Chinese territory, especially since China has become one of the most competitive markets in the world, in addition to being a more distinguished market. The Chinese response to the presence of these American companies on its soil has come to lie in the success of the Chinese in producing increasingly competitive products and technologies. Because of these facts, working in China supports and strengthens American companies. Whereas, “If you compete successfully in China, you will have a much better chance of competing globally. Without that competitive advantage, it will be very difficult for our American companies to compete globally”.

 Also, those American companies encourage the adoption of American values ​​in China, given that they see that they “manage their companies with democratic values, including workers’ rights and a sense of the rule of law, and we also work with respect for intellectual property and environmental protection, with a clear respect for anti-corruption”, the more  the greater the influence of American companies on China to adopt these American values, the greater the benefit to the United States of America from the presence of its companies in China.

On the other hand, China is obstructing those American values ​​- from the American point of view – by passing laws – anti-espionage laws, national security laws, cyber security laws – that are very restrictive laws on data sharing and data flow for Americans. Here, “economic data of all kinds appears to be such a sensitive national security issue that China is restricting it”. Based on these laws, the Chinese are constantly investigating and attacking US companies that provide data and other information to companies, and detaining Chinese employees, all without explaining what is happening.  Hence, the Chinese always seek the help of foreign research and consulting companies on their lands, which are considered “the eyes and ears of foreign investors in China”.  But on the other hand, we believe that “in order for foreign investment to come to China – and for Western and foreign companies to feel comfortable and want to continue working in China – they need access to data. Investors only want to know what is happening in China economically. This is normal, not  Spying, as the Chinese believe.”  And we Americans believe that this contradicts what China is trying to do in terms of economic development, by restricting the work of foreign companies and restricting them to those laws on its soil.

 But despite all these negatives in the relationship with China, “moderate members of the US Congress agree to keep trade corridors open with certain standards, have better communications with China, and work with allies in dealing with China”.  This is where the “Knocking on China” team of the China-US Chamber of Commerce works, which is known as: the “Door knock strategy” in the AmCham China.

 To appoint a number of moderate lawmakers and officials eager to achieve a more responsive pattern with China.  Keeping trade lanes open with certain standards is good for the United States, so keeping those trade lanes open should be for our benefit.  While talking about waging war with China is unlikely, however, “whether the calls of some American politicians are in the direction of war against China, and whether those calls are a play or not? But when the Chinese hear them, they really get upset”.

  Here, “it appears that the US House of Representatives Selection Committee is hostile to China and its ruling Communist Party, as a selection committee dominated by anti-Chinese people”. And you will find yourself after the preliminary hearing of that committee selected to discuss the affairs of China and its Communist Party in the US House of Representatives and its “Select Committee” regarding China .

  You wonder: How unilateral was it for Washington in China vis-à-vis the Americans?” In response to your criticism, there is a ready-made American response saying that: “Members of Congress, and especially the people on that select committee, say it is bipartisan.  Here, I agree with you”. There is also room within that selected committee for members to have differences of opinion, some of whom are more radical, and some of them are less so. And you will find that the witnesses who were summoned to the first session: They were all from China’s hard-line hawks in confronting it.

 Also, in defense of the leadership of that committee and the people who speak on its behalf, the committee invites all companies and other people to subsequent hearings, and we also hope to hear from people on the ground in China.  But the question remains here:

“How do we work with China for the benefit of the United States?”

 Here we have a new point related to: “The United States needs a national review of foreign investment to China, but it must be narrow and targeted and carried out jointly with its allies and partners”. Here, the United States of America agrees that there is a need for the American side to have certain controls with regard to foreign investment in relation to China, with the American side criticizing that this contradicts free investment flows and so on, but they believe in Washington, that under those circumstances the situation is that they needed to protect their technologies first, and this was the only way to do that. The people who set and implement the policy on the “National Overseas Investment Review” of the United States understand that it has to be targeted and specific. They also, in the United States of America, need to work together with their allies and partners. So they encourage listening very closely and very closely to work in making these policies, because that’s “how the investment review in the United States of America will be done for China”.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit


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