The official signing of the US-China trade deal comes two weeks after the launch of China’s new Foreign Investment Law. We asked the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, based in Guangzhou, for their views on both the FIL, US-China relations, and the outlook for their business in 2020.
Long-serving Amcham South China president, Harley Seyedin, was optimistic, pointing out that his members had as much as US$14 billion ready to invest in the next three years. Here are his answers to four key questions:
1. Does the new FIL meet all of your expectations for improving the business environment in southern China for your members?
China’s New Foreign Investment Law reflects may of the issues suggested by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China as mutually beneficial to the US and China. It does seem clear that China has made some healthy promises to open up their markets, and commitments on intellectual property.
2. How do you expect enforcement of these new laws and regulations to happen in 2020?
We have found many highlights of the release of new FIL and the implementation regulations demonstrating China’s determination and efforts to create a level playing field for foreign investors and attract more foreign investment. Meanwhile, more alternative investment and funding options have been offered for foreign investment in China. I have confidence that China will keep this momentum to fulfill its commitment to a better business environment.
3. Do you expect US-China relations to improve this year?
That a trade deal exists in writing is proof of progress. Even better, the Chinese and the American governments are roughly pursuing similar paths together, one step at a time. I am fully confident that the strong leadership I have witnessed in both countries will soon arrive at a more complete and comprehensive agreement in the coming months. Both President Trump and Xi deserve our thanks for listening to our concerns and our congratulations for working hard to bring about a clear path and level playing field for US and Chinese companies alike.
4. What are the chamber’s priorities for business development in the coming year?
With more than 2,300 members of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, we account for nearly 40% of all US-China business, trade and investments, representing a substantial piece of the larger part of the US-China relations. I fully expect that the latest trade agreement will help release many large investments which are now on hold and will contribute to the growth of the US and Chinese economies, and benefit the entire world. Our study shows that members of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China have set aside around US$14 billion to invest over the next three years to expand their market share.