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US Companies in China Slam Red Tape Despite More Profits

A new survey of U.S. companies doing business in China finds widespread frustration with bureaucracy and piracy of intellectual property in spite of rising profits.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai released the findings of its annual survey Wednesday, just as Chinese President Hu Jintao was about to begin crucial meetings with U.S. officials in Washington.

The chamber said almost two-thirds of the 346 companies surveyed found that problems with Chinese regulations have remained the same or gotten worse in the past year. And more than 70 percent said Chinese enforcement of laws protecting intellectual property are as bad or worse than they were a year ago.

Despite the frustrations, 80 percent of the companies said they were profitable last year, the highest number in any survey. And almost 90 percent said their revenues were higher than in 2009.

Almost half of the companies surveyed complained that regulations are enforced in a way that favors Chinese companies over foreign firms. Less than one-third of companies said they were treated equally.

The issues of intellectual property rights and equal treatment for foreign companies were expected to be discussed by President Hu and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.