US businesses appeal on China

US business groups called on top US officials to pressure China on moves to keep out foreign high-tech companies, adding yet another irritant to ties strained by currency, trade and internet freedom issues.

The appeal, in a letter to top US officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, comes as China formulates regulations for policies meant to encourage domestic industry to ascend the value chain. Foreign industry fears that incentives for government purchasers to prioritise domestically developed products could lose them valuable contracts.

“For several years, the Chinese government has been implementing indigenous innovation policies aimed at carving out markets for national champions and increasing the locally owned and developed intellectual property of innovative products,” the business groups said, according to a text made public by the Business Software alliance. “We are increasingly alarmed by the means China is using to achieve these goals.”

The business groups addressed a letter with similar concerns to the Chinese leadership in early December. The latest salvo is aimed at generating more US government support on this issue, signatories said.

Signatories urged the Obama administration to make the issue a top priority and work with the business community and foreign governments to develop a “strong, fully coordinated response to the Chinese government.”

China and the US are already squaring off on a number of issues, including currency, market access, arms sales to Taiwan and climate change. China was stung by Clinton’s calls for greater Internet freedom last week, while Google’s threat to pull out from China soured the relationship.

 

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