Progress in opening up market access for U.S. companies in China appears to be stalled, a leading U.S. trade group said in a report released Tuesday, contending that China in some cases is moving toward more restrictive policies.
In its fourth annual report on Chinese compliance with its World Trade Organization obligations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said that in the context of a surging U.S. trade deficit with China, "we believe that China should significantly expand market access for U.S. companies beyond its WTO accession commitments."
The report said that if China falters in meeting even its minimal obligations, there will be political and commercial ramifications to the detriment of both countries.
"In the case of government procurement, China continues to consider policies that are more, not less, restrictive than those in place prior to its WTO accession," the study said.
U.S. Chamber members remain concerned, according to the report, that this sector may be substantially closed off to foreign suppliers of goods and services through the implementation of the Government Procurement Law.
It said this law requires Chinese government entities to procure only domestic goods and services with limited exceptions.
"The Chamber feels strongly that China's implementation of its procurement law should not exclude or diminish the ability of foreign companies to fully participate in China's procurement market," the report said.
"Moreover, China has already adopted more restrictive policies in construction and engineering services and express delivery services; in these sectors, U.S. goods and services providers face a rolling back of the market access they had previously achieved."
On the sensitive issue of intellectual property rights, the Chamber urged the Chinese government to take bolder measures to generate "more tangible results" in IPR enforcement and build confidence that the problem is being addressed in a meaningful way.
It called for an increase in the number of criminal investigations and prosecutions of IPR offenses in key regions, and ensuring that appropriate penalties are imposed.
The Chamber expressed concern that certain provisions of a proposed Anti-Monopoly Law would give the Chinese government broad authority to regulate companies doing business in China "in ways that are substantially out of step with current practice in the United States and other major industrialized countries.", AP reported.