The business outlook for U.S. firms in China is promising but concerns remain about the government's commitment to implement trade obligations like intellectual property protection, according a survey by the American Chamber of Commerce China survey released on Sept. 1. The five-year business outlook was optimistic according to 90% of those polled.

"China's economic reforms continue to pay off for its own economy as well as American companies," Emory Williams, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce China, said in launching its annual white paper on the business climate.

In the survey of the chamber's more than 4,000 members, 86% of member companies reported higher revenues and 68% reported profitable or very profitable performances. These levels are slightly lower than those of the last two years, largely due to increasing competition from both international and local firms.

Sixty percent of American Chamber members said that their main goal was to produce goods and services for the China market, rather than for export abroad.

The top business challenge, reported by the study, was developing and retaining high quality management level talent.

Members of the business group see China as "generally compliant" with the nation's commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO) but still called for improvements in several areas, including intellectual property protection. "For too many of our member firms, this remains the largest obstacle to doing business in China," Williams said. He noted that Chinese customs officials have been stepping up their efforts to protect IPR, but said they suffered from inadequate resources, which reflects "inadequate will."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005