China’s Embassy Pressuring US Companies to Oppose China Bills

Warning they would risk losing market share or revenue in China if the bills become law, Chinese Embassy in the US has allegedly been pushing US companies, executives and business groups to fight against China-related legislation in the US Congress in recent weeks.

Chinese officials, according to four sources familiar with the initiative, has exerted the pressure on wide range of actors in the business community in letters and in personal meetings with them.

According to the sources and the letter sent by the embassy’s economic and commercial office, which was seen by Reuters, China’s embassy in Washington has pressed executives to urge Congress members to alter or drop specific bills aimed at enhancing US competitiveness.

The Senate has passed in June, with bipartisan support, a sweeping legislation to boost US competition with China, known as the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which would also fund production of much-needed semiconductor.

The House of Representatives has seen a more strictly policy focused related bill, called the Eagle Act, which has stalled die to the Congress’ preoccupation with other domestic initiatives.

China’s Embassy was explicitly asking the companies to oppose USICA and the Eagle Act – envisioning a hard line toward China on human rights and trade issues – which Beijing sees as part of a US effort to counter its growing economic and geopolitical might.

In one of the letter it sent in early November, the Embassy expressed hopes that the addressee would urge Congress members to ‘stop touting negative China-related bills’ and ‘delete negative provisions’ in order to create – before it is too late – favorable conditions for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

Neither the Chinese embassy nor the head of its economic and commercial office returned Reuters’ separate requests for comment.

Afraid that they could be seen as violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) if they lobby lawmakers on similar issues in the future, individuals who received a letter also didn’t wanted to be identified.

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