US-China Business Council (USCBC) President John Frisbie visited China during the week of September 21 and met with senior PRC officials in Beijing and Shanghai to raise several advocacy points on behalf of USCBC member companies. Frisbie also met with roughly 50 member-company executives to hear their views on the current business environment in China and to brief them on bilateral trade developments in Washington, DC.
One of Frisbie’s principal advocacy points was to press for foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) to be treated as “domestic enterprises” under China’s government procurement and indigenous innovation rules. One of the top issues highlighted in USCBC’s recently released 2009 member survey and in company meetings in both cities is that FIE products and services made or provided in China are treated as “foreign” rather than domestic and are therefore excluded or disadvantaged in procurement decisions (see Survey Reveals Cautious Optimism).
Although one outcome of the July US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue was a statement that FIEs should be treated as domestic enterprises in government procurement practices (as they are in the United States), USCBC believes that the PRC central government must issue a written clarification in China to ensure even implementation at the central and local levels.
During his trip, Frisbie also met with Ambassador Jon Huntsman and new Commercial Minister-Counselor William Zarit at a US Embassy reception to introduce Zarit to the business community, along with Consul-General Bea Camp in Shanghai. Frisbie reiterated USCBC’s offer to jointly host an event in honor of President Barack Obama during his visit to China in mid-November.