USCBC 2023 Member Survey: Concerns About US-China Relations and Chinese Policies Slow Investments and Sales in China

WASHINGTON—September 26, 2023—The US-China Business Council (USCBC), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of 275 American companies that do business in China, today released its annual Member Survey results, which show that challenges stemming from the US-China relationship and China’s domestic policies are hindering more companies’ performance, planning, and prospects in the China market than ever before.

“Our members overwhelmingly report that ongoing tension between the US and China, among other factors, has caused increased uncertainty in the policy environment, leading to missed sales opportunities and delayed or canceled investments,” said USCBC President Craig Allen. “While most of our companies remain profitable in China and are committed to operating there, many are adjusting their businesses in China and taking a more cautious approach to new investments.”

According to survey respondents, the top-three challenges for USCBC member companies in China are:

  1. US-China relations: Geopolitics or domestic politics
  2. Data, personal information, and cybersecurity rules
  3. Export controls, sanctions, and investment screenings

Additionally, the survey also found that:

  • China remains a top-five priority market for most (74%) companies.
  • Only half (49%) of companies expressed an “optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” outlook about the future, a new low for the second consecutive year.
  • Nearly all (90%) companies believe Chinese industrial policies will negatively impact their company’s market share in China in the next five years.

Since the survey was conducted in early summer, there have been several positive developments:

  • First, the two governments have stepped up diplomatic engagements and agreed to establish an information exchange on export controls and a working group on commercial issues, as well as convene technical discussions on strengthening trade secret protection during licensing processes.
  • Second, both countries are gradually increasing the number of direct flights between the two countries, which is vital to improving commercial engagement.
  • Third, there are signs that Chinese policymakers understand concerns about market access and regulatory compliance issues. In August, the State Council released a “24 measures” document, which focuses on US and foreign business challenges around cross-border data transfers, government procurement, and other policy areas.

“This is a positive signal, but caution is warranted,” the survey report concludes. “USCBC urges Chinese policymakers to ensure that implementation and enforcement of these pledges is timely, fair, and consistent across jurisdictions in China.”

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Editor’s Note on Methodology:  This year’s survey was conducted between June and July of 2023 and draws from a pool of 117 member companies. Respondents have significant experience and presence in the China market—two-thirds have operated in China for more than 20 years, and more than one-third generate revenue in China exceeding $1 billion.

Respondents’ top-10 challenges were ranked using a weighted system to reflect the most significant issue they encounter while doing business in China. To ensure consistent analysis over time, the same methodology was used in previous years. Due to rounding, some chart totals may add up to slightly more or less than 100 percent.


美中贸易全国委员会2023年度《中国商业环境调查》报告发布:对中美关系和中国政策的担忧导致美国企业在华投资和销售减缓

华盛顿,2023年9月26日——美中贸易全国委员会(USCBC)是一家非政府、无党派、非营利的机构,拥有275家在华经营的美国会员企业。根据委员会最新发布的2023年度《中国商业环境调查》显示,来自中美关系和中国国内政策的挑战,正以前所未有的程度影响美国企业在中国市场的业绩、规划和发展前景。

“我们的会员企业普遍报告称,持续紧张的中美关系连同其他因素加剧了政策环境的不确定性,从而导致许多美资企业错失销售机会,推迟或取消在华投资。”美中贸易全国委员会会长克雷格·艾伦表示,“虽然多数企业在华仍然保持盈利,并致力于深耕中国市场,但许多公司正在调整他们的在华业务布局,并对新投资采取更审慎的态度。”

调查结果显示,美中贸易全国委员会会员企业在华面临的前三大挑战是:

  1. 中美关系:地缘政治或国内政治
  2. 数据、个人信息和网络安全规则
  3. 出口管制、制裁和投资审查

此外,调查还发现:

  • 对大多数(74%)企业来说,中国仍然是首选的五大市场之一。
  • 只有一半(49%)的企业对前景表示“乐观”或“有些乐观”—— 这一比例连续两年突破历史低点。
  • 几乎所有(90%)公司认为中国的产业政策将在未来五年内削弱美国企业在中国的市场份额。

自初夏进行这项调查以来,我们已经关注到了一些积极的进展:

  • 首先,中美两国政府已加强了外交接触,同意启动出口管制信息交流机制,成立贸易和投资问题工作组,并就强化许可过程中的商业秘密保护组织专家进行技术磋商。
  • 其次,中美两国正在逐步增加两国之间的直飞航班数量,这对于改善两国商业联系至关重要。
  • 再次,有迹象表明,中国的政策制定者理解外资企业对市场准入和合规问题的关切。今年8月,中国国务院发布的《关于进一步优化外商投资环境加大吸引外商投资力度的意见》,聚焦于美国和其他外资企业在跨境数据传输、政府采购和其他政策领域所面临的挑战。

“这是一个积极的信号,但我们仍需保持谨慎。”调查报告总结说,“美中贸易全国委员会敦促中国政策制定者确保上述承诺在中国各地区得到及时、公正和一致的贯彻和执行。”

 

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关于调查方法的编者注:

本年度的调查于2023年6至7月之间开展,调查对象为117家会员企业。受访企业在中国市场业务经验丰富——其中三分之二的企业在华运营超过20年,超过三分之一的企业在华的营收超10亿美元。

本调查将受访企业所面临的十大挑战采用加权排名,以反映各企业在华经营中遇到的最为显著的问题。该方法与往年调查采用的方法相同,以确保分析的一致性。由于对某些数据采用了四舍五入的计算方法,部分图表的百分比总和可能略高于或低于100%。