Beijing refutes claims of unfair business practice

08:35, May 06, 2011      

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Gary Locke

China defended its business environment on Thursday after US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke lodged complaints in that regard, less than a week ahead of the two sides' annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

"China is committed to its reform and opening-up policy and will continue to build an open and transparent legal environment based on relevant laws and regulations, as well as rules set by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to embrace foreign direct investment (FDI)," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"All foreign invested companies in China enjoy equal treatment as domestic ones," she added, citing the latest world investment report, released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development in 2010, which said China received the second-largest amount of FDI in that year.

Jiang was responding to remarks made by Locke on Wednesday accusing China of restricting US investment and adopting policies favoring domestic companies.

American companies in China "are frequently shut out of entire industries, or they are forced to give up proprietary information as a condition of operating in China," the Wall Street Journal quoted Locke as saying at a meeting in Washington with the Asia Society on Chinese Foreign Direct Investment.

The biggest challenge continues to come from China's efforts to support "indigenous innovation," he added, according to the Journal.

Locke, the first Chinese American commerce secretary, had been tapped to be the next US ambassador to China – a decision pending Senate approval.

His harsh stance echoed previous analyses that he would be a hardliner on Beijing as a Chinese descendant, who nonetheless needs to prove his representative status for US interests.

Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times that Locke's accusations were not fair.

"Some foreign companies lodged complaints because China's policy no longer favors them, as what happened in the early years of the country's opening up," Mei said. "As a developing country, China's marketization level is behind the US', which may also cause complaints."

Zhou Shijian, a senior researcher at the China-US Relations Research Center at Tsinghua University, noted that instead of blaming China, Locke could have given more information on why the US government always blocks Chinese investments.

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Source: Global Times
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