News / Asia

US Businesses Concerned about Investment Restrictions, IP Rights in China

William Ide

The head of a coalition of American businesses operating in China says investment restrictions and concerns over intellectual property rights are key issues for companies doing business there.  

When John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, accompanied more than a dozen top American CEOs to China earlier this month, Chinese restrictions on foreign investment was a major issue for both sides. "I think the investment area is one that is highly important for both economies and that reducing investment barriers, again there's a lot on their side; there's probably some things that could be done here, reducing investment barriers would probably help both economies because more direct investment creates jobs.  No doubt about it," he said.

Speaking with reporters here in Washington this week, Frisbie said its time for China to begin addressing this problem and reduce investment restrictions. "China has a pretty extensive list of industry sectors or particular product areas where foreign investors are limited to having to do a joint venture with a Chinese partner or even in some cases hold a minority share in a joint venture with a Chinese partner," he said.

Under such arrangements, U.S. companies worry that they will be forced to transfer technology and sensitive information to their Chinese partners.

Frisbie says that in addition to investment, intellectual property rights and equal treatment were among other key issues American business leaders urged China to address.

He says that although U.S. companies say a nine-month anti-piracy campaign launched by Beijing late last year was helpful, a permanent and tougher effort is needed.  "Basically, adopt the international standard on criminal penalties as a tougher deterrent, criminal penalties in cases of commercial scale.  China hasn't done that yet," he said.

American business leaders say they hope to see substantive progress on these and other issues when U.S. and Chinese officials hold their latest round of U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade talks in Chengdu, China next week.

The U.S.-China Business Council has more than 200 members, and includes major American corporations as well as smaller businesses such as law firms and consultants.  According to a recent survey of its members, foreign investment restrictions and intellectual property rights were among the top 10 concerns of U.S. businesses in China.

John Frisbie says that although some of the challenges American companies face involve Chinese government policies, others are not. "Pretty consistently, the top issue is HR [human resources], the ability to hire people in the environment and keep them, where there're a lot of companies, including Chinese companies chasing the same talent, the turnover pressures that creates for companies the comp [compensation] and ben [benefits] pressures that creates for companies.  If you're trying to run a business in China, that's probably your top headache," he said.

Another issue that limits a company's ability to expand in China, Frisbie says, is the myriad of licenses businesses need and the problems they face in receiving those licenses in a fair and timely manner.

He says the rising cost of labor, materials, land, utilities and taxes are also among the biggest concerns for American companies doing business there. "Each year, we ask companies to rate how any particular issue has faired over the last 12 months; you know, better, worse the same.  The one that was at the top of the list for deterioration over the past year was cost increases.  It is getting more expensive to do business in China," he said.

But rising costs, Frisbie adds, affects companies in different ways.  Firms that use China as a low-cost manufacturing base might move their operations elsewhere.  Companies whose sole focus is the Chinese market will likely stay.

But according to the  U.S.-China Business Council, most of its members saw double-digit revenue growth in China last year.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid