US companies in China say they’ve been hurt by trade war

WASHINGTON (AP) – Caught in the crossfire of a trade war, American businesses operating in China say they’ve been hurt by the hostilities between the world’s two biggest economies and are facing increasingly unfair competition from Chinese firms.

But they still aren’t ready to give up on the Chinese market.

In the United States (US)-China Business Council’s annual survey, out on Thursday, 81 per cent of companies say they’ve been affected by US-China trade tensions, up from 73 per cent last year.

Nearly half – 49 per cent – say they’ve lost sales because of tariffs China has imposed on US products in retaliation for American import taxes; 47 per cent say Chinese authorities are using red tape – regulations and licences – to discriminate against them.

And 40 per cent say they’ve lost sales in China because Chinese firms are worried about doing business with American companies in the middle of trade hostilities, up seven-fold from 2018.

Still, 88 per cent say they have no plans to move out of China; and 97 per cent say their China operations are still profitable.

But just 52 per cent expect their China revenue to increase this year, down from 78 per cent last year and the lowest in the annual survey going back to 2010.

One hundred companies responded to the survey in June.

For more than a year, the United States and China have been locked in a trade war over American allegations that Beijing steals trade secrets and forces foreign companies to hand them over. Washington has imposed 25 per cent tariffs on USD250 billion worth of Chinese imports and is planning to hit another USD112 billion tomorrow. China has retaliated by hitting most of what the US exports to China.

People shop at the newly open FAO Schwarz toy store at the capital city’s popular shopping mall in Beijing. PHOTO: AP