An influential survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in China shows more than 80 percent of companies think foreign business is less welcome in China than it has been in the past. Tara Joseph reports.
President Xi Jinping may be selling China as a wide open economy in Davos but back in Beijing, U.S. companies are a lot less optimistic. The American Chamber of Commerce in China publishing its annual survey on Wednesday and it makes for some pretty grim reading. "I'm Reuters Tara Joseph in Hong Kong. This is a very influential survey, representing nearly 500 top U.S. and multinational firms. More than 80% of them say they think foreign business is less welcome in China than it has been in the past. The key problems: a slowing economy, protectionism, and of course Donald Trump." It's no surprise that the incoming U.S. President is making Americans nervous about business ties with China. He says he plans to brand Beijing a currency manipulator, and he's threatened to slap fat tariffs on Chinese imports. But a lot of the pessimism in this report boils down to Beijing itself. International firms say they're feeling increasingly frozen out of business opportunities in China, and 60 percent say they have little or no faith that that will change. Topping things off, China's growth target is expected to be lowered for 2017 and even then, most AmCham members don't think that target is going to be met. Despite concerns that Beijing has flagged about Trump in the USA, this report suggests that the real economic hurdles for foreign companies begin and end with the Communist Party. And that's something officials could come to regret. Perhaps the most telling statistic of the whole report: a record 44% of companies say China is no longer in their top three priorities for global investment.