Senior U.S. officials have again pressed China to reduce barriers for foreign businesses, saying concerns have grown due to a more complex regulatory environment. As David Pollard reports, it follows a series of government investigations targeting foreign companies and the roll-out of a national security law limiting the use of overseas technology.
When it comes to friendship, there are deeds. And there are words. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY, JACK LEW, SAYING: "Concerns about the business climate have grown in recent years with foreign business confronting a more complex regulatory environment and questioning how welcome they are." The answer for some is: not welcome enough. A raft of regulation one thing seen putting US firms off China. China's national security laws on cyberspace and the internet another - those potentially hitting foreign tech companies. And to add more strain to these high-level talks in Beijing: there's the macro backdrop. SOUNDBITE (English), WORLD FIRST, CHIEF ECONOMIST, JEREMY COOK, SAYING: "There may be chatter around the ... impact of what is still believed to be a very, very undervalued yuan, and whether that's actually having an effect on the Chinese economy and the global economy, or whether much like Europe and Japan for example, they can simply export their problems elsewhere." China says it's committed to welcoming foreign business. But the US isn't alone in its grievance - European firms also complain of promises to open up markets made, but not met. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRESIDENT OF THE EU CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN CHINA, JOERG WUTTKE, SAYING: "What the membership tells us basically is that they see a stronger disconnect between reform commitments and actually actions in order to move forward and that's possibly adding to the pessimism." Its survey shows 47 per cent of European companies plan to expand in China. Three years ago, that figure was 86 per cent.