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.





  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


  • 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。


  • 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。



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