News / Asia

US Businesses Concerned about Investment Restrictions, IP Rights in China

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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs