U.S. firms more confident: survey

Updated 2018-01-31 10:40:05

Findings on more confidence from U.S. firms show govt has kept promises, says expert

A new survey has found that U.S. businesses are increasingly confident about China's economy and its commitment to further opening up the market to foreign companies.

A Chinese expert said on Tuesday that the findings show the solid progress made by the central government in improving business conditions for foreign companies.

The 2018 China Business Climate Survey Report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) on Tuesday said that more U.S. companies saw their revenues and profits increase in 2017 and are planning to expand their investment in China, despite uncertainties over the regulatory environment.

Some 64 percent of member companies reported revenue growth in 2017, up from 58 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015, while a record-low 7 percent reported a revenue decline, according to the survey.

The survey also found that 46 percent of respondents are confident the government will further open China's market to foreign investment within the next three years, up from 34 percent in 2016. And one-third of members are planning to expand their investment in China by more than 10 percent in 2018.

"After several years of an increasingly pessimistic outlook, optimism and confidence in growth rebounded among members in 2017," the survey's executive summary read.

Asked to comment on the AmCham China survey on Tuesday, Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that China will continue to create a better business environment for foreign firms but also urged other countries to do the same.

Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the improvement in U.S. businesses' sentiment toward China reflects the progress made in China's continued reform and opening-up efforts.

"For a long time, we've been hearing a lot of foreign companies' complaints about business conditions in China, while the Chinese government repeatedly vowed to improve conditions. Now we are seeing a positive trend," Wang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

However, in the AmCham China survey, U.S. businesses also voiced concerns over uncertainties in China's regulatory environment, as 75 percent of member companies continued to feel foreign companies were less welcome in China in 2017.

The survey also showed 46 percent of companies - though down from 55 percent in 2016 - continued to feel foreign companies were treated unfairly compared to their local counterparts.

Chinese policymakers have indicated in recent key meetings, including the Central Economic Work Conference held in mid-December 2017, that they will continue reform and opening-up efforts.

"If the U.S. starts to toughen up on Chinese businesses and treat them unfairly, I think U.S. businesses will receive the same treatment in China as well," Wang said.

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