WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (Reuters) – China has in recent weeks pushed US executives, companies and business groups to fight China-related bills in US Congress, four sources familiar with the initiative told Reuters, in letters to and meetings with a wide range of business actors.
According to the sources and the text of a letter from the embassy’s economic and commercial office viewed by Reuters, letters from the Chinese embassy in Washington have urged executives to urge members of Congress to amend or amend specific bills. to boost American competitiveness.
Chinese officials warned companies they risk losing market share or revenues in China if the legislation becomes law, according to the text of the letter.
The Chinese embassy and the head of its economic and commercial office have not returned separate requests for comment.
The sources said China’s request also raised concerns that some individuals who received a letter could be seen as violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) if they lobby lawmakers about similar issues in the future. issues.
As a result, none of the sources wanted to be identified as having received or seen the letter.
A sweeping legislation to boost US competition with China and fund much-needed semiconductor manufacturing, known as the US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), was passed by the Senate in June with bipartisan support. A related bill in the House of Representatives called the Eagle Act, which is more strictly policy-oriented, has stalled as Congress preoccupied with other domestic initiatives.
The language in the letters, which were sent separately to a large number of people, according to Reuters, explicitly asks companies to oppose USICA and the Eagle Act.
Beijing sees the measures, which are taking a hard line on China on human rights and trade issues, as part of a US effort to counter the country’s growing economic and geopolitical power.
“We sincerely hope that you … will play a positive role in urging members of Congress to give up zero-sum thinking and ideological bias, stop touting negative China-related bills, remove negative provisions, to to create favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trade cooperation before it is too late,” the Chinese embassy said in a letter sent in early November.
Reuters confirmed the shared language of the letter with the four sources.
“The result of those China-related bills with negative impacts will not be protecting the interests of US companies, while those of Chinese companies will suffer. It will only hurt everyone,” it said.
“Promoting a China-free supply chain will inevitably result in a decline in Chinese demand for US products and the loss of market share and revenues of US companies in China,” the report said.
Two of the sources said similar messages were conveyed during meetings with Chinese embassy staff.
“It’s an outright question from a foreign government,” said one of the sources, emphasizing the implications for FARA, which requires persons acting on behalf of a foreign power or political party to disclose these relationships to the Justice Department.
A second source said the approach was aimed at getting companies to slow down the legislative process rather than completely blocking the bills.
Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chris Sanders and Daniel Wallis
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