The Soured Romance Between China and Corporate America.
For years, big U.S. firms were Beijing’s most reliable allies in Washington. Now they’re taking a harder stand.
By Bob Davis and Lingling Wei
June 5, 2020 10:01 am ET
WHEN DONALD TRUMP WON the presidential election in 2016, Chinese leaders were stunned. They had focused on the prospect of a Hillary Clinton victory. They immediately put out feelers to their oldest and most reliable allies in Washington—big business CEOs and their trade associations.
What they heard back was disquieting. Mr. Trump was hard to figure out. Populism was on the rise. America was changing, and China had to change too to remain on the right side of the new American leadership. Behind the scenes, many of Beijing’s erstwhile corporate friends would go on to support the administration’s hard line toward China even though they disagreed sharply with the tactic of piling tariffs upon tariffs.
“The Chinese figure that the bankers and big business own the American government. That’s why they go to them,” says James McGregor, who has worked for years in China as a business consultant and a leader of the American Chamber of Commerce in China.
For decades that was a winning strategy. Now it no longer was—not just because of the changes in the White House but because of the fraying of relations between Beijing and American business. It was a long slog downward.以下省略三千五百字。