The AmCham Shanghai 2016 Doorknock concluded today with more meetings on Capitol Hill as well as meetings at the National Security Council with China and trade experts from Brookings and the Peterson Institute of International Economics. On the Hill, the delegation continued to emphasize the importance of TPP passage to the interests of US companies operating in China. This is the final report from Washington on the Doorknock Delegation. For more information on the delegation’s previous meetings and policy recommendations, please see these links: Doorknock Dispatch 1, Doorknock Dispatch 2, Doorknock Dispatch 3, Financial Service Viewpoint, Internet Viewpoint and TPP.
On the last day of this year’s Doorknock, the delegation met with a number of influential Congressmen, including Representative Darin LaHood (R-Illinois), Representative Rick Larsen (D-Washington), Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), Representative Mike Kelly (R-Pennsylvania), Representative Ami Bera (D-California), Representative Judy Chu (D-California), Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), and Representative Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska). The delegation also met with senior staffers at the House Committee on Ways and Means.
As in previous meetings, the delegation provided an overview of the business climate in China, noting the difficulties that American companies faced in the ICT and financial services industry. The delegation also continued to encourage Members of Congress to support the TPP. From the discussions, it was evident that passage of TPP still faces an uphill battle. Many members are still considering their positions, even those traditionally identified as being pro free trade. When discussions turned to specific objections to the agreement, the most frequently cited provisions were those on biologics, currency and tobacco. Both Members and staffers noted the difficult political environment for TPP, given the upcoming election and strong anti-free trade sentiment.
The delegation also met with the Peterson Institute for International Economics Senior Fellows Nick Lardy and Gary Hufbauer. They summarized a new report just issued by the Peterson Institute that analyzes the potential impact on the US economy of the trade policies articulated by the two presidential nominees. The report can be found here. Both Lardy and Hufbauer shared views with the delegation on TPP, Chinese economic reforms, and the lack of progress on China’s SOE reforms.
In a separate meeting with scholars from the Brookings Institution, Director of the John Thorton China Center Cheng Li, Senior Fellow Ken Lieberthal, and Senior Fellow David Dollar shared their views on US-China relations, China’s economic development, leadership dynamics, and regional security issues. They noted the growing distrust between the United States and China, even in the face of extensive interaction at the most senior levels. They also discussed the sweeping leadership changes that will occur next year during the 19th Party Congress, which will see major turnover in the Politburo standing committee and Central Committee. The Doorknock ended with a meeting at the NSC with China Affairs Director Ryan Hass, Director for International Economics Yam Ki Chan, and Leah Bray from the Asia office. They stressed the continuing importance that the Obama administration places on the US-China relationship, noting that there continues to be more opportunities for engagement with the Chinese government in the upcoming months. They welcomed input from AmCham Shanghai on how to improve the relationship and how best to support the TPP.
To sum up, while much of the attention in Washington is focused on the U.S. elections, the doorknock delegation was received at a high-level by both the Administration and Congress. The delegation met with key administration officials, over 40 Congressmen and staffers, and nearly 25 influential academics and business association representative. The delegation also co-hosted a reception with the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce. In all the meetings, the delegation noted that American businesses continue to succeed in China despite the growth of regulatory and operational challenges. The delegation encouraged Administration officials and Members of Congress to continue to engage with the Chinese government on key issues, particularly Cybersecurity/IT and financial services reform. They also urged Members of Congress to support the TPP noting the positive impact the agreement would have on American businesses in China. The Chamber will continue to engage with Washington contacts on these and other China business environment issues in Washington and Shanghai.
This is the final report from the Doorknock. Thank you for following us via these dispatches.
The 2016 AmCham Shanghai Doorknock is led by Board Chairman Ker Gibbs and includes 13 other members: AmCham Shanghai President Kenneth Jarrett; AmCham China President Alan Beebe; B&L (Shanghai) Engineering Consulting President Phil Branham; MKT& Associates CEO Michael Crotty; KPMG Markets Strategy Partner David Frey; Sigmatex Asia General Manager Cameron Johnson; Technology Consultant and Investor Caroline Pan; Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP Co-Chair of Asia Practice and Partner Gentry Sayad; Coca-Cola Bottling Investments Group China CEO Glen Walter; AmCham Southwest China Chairman Benjamin Wang, DuPont Managing Director of Communications, Marketing, & Sales for North Asia, Australia, and New Zealand Helen Yang; International Learning Enterprise General Manager Vincent Yang; and Allergan China Country President Shirley Zhao.