WASHINGTON, D.C. - At the 13th Annual China Business Conference, U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark stressed the American business community’s rising concerns over China’s intensifying security policies and practices in the PRC that are undermining China’s stated policy of openness and desire to attract new foreign investment and exports from the United States and other western countries.
Clark was joined at the premier forum on U.S.-China economic relations by leaders in government, business, and industry for a dialogue on the urgent imperative of de-risking the relationship between the world’s two largest economies. In her remarks closing the conference, Clark said, “The U.S.-China relationship not only demands serious dialogue but also leadership and action. We’ve all witnessed the Chinese government’s prioritization of its national security intensify over the past two decades—with increasingly concerning actions in just the last few weeks. These policies and practices in pursuit of China’s absolute security—together with massive state subsidies, unfair commercial practices, and human rights abuses—have made the world less secure.”
Clark said that when it comes to the U.S. preserving our interests “we must safeguard our national security and values. We support targeted and responsible steps to restrict Chinese access to sensitive technologies that could be used to undermine America’s national security, including export controls, technology restrictions, and scrutiny of outbound investment.”
However, she emphasized that not every economic interaction with China is a national security risk.
“There is a vast area of commercial opportunity where we can and should engage productively,” she said. “Transactions that don’t pose a threat to national security strengthen the U.S. economy, present opportunities for small businesses, and improve the standard of living for millions of Americans. Importantly, if we treat every economic interaction as a risk, we lose focus on areas that truly do pose a threat.”
Clark said that often in public policy debates, we are presented false binary choices: in the case of China, national security or a trade relationship worth nearly $1 trillion annually. “We cannot take a blunt approach on China—like decoupling,” she said. “We need to take the surgical approach of de-risking. The Chamber will continue to provide a platform and a voice for American businesses—to serve their interests, to protect our national security, to advance our economy, and to ensure our future strength and competitiveness.”
Speakers and panelists included top business leaders, public officials, policy experts, and thought leaders, including Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) and Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), the Chair and Ranking Member, respectively, of the U.S. House Select Committee on the CCP ; Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) ; Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) ; Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense ; Dr. Kevin Rudd, Australia's Ambassador to the United States ; and Bonnie Glaser, Managing Director for Indo-Pacific, German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Read Clark’s full remarks here.
To learn more about the 2023 U.S. China Business Conference click here.