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Concerns over China dominate Japan-US business roundtable

WASHINGTON — Japanese and American business leaders are sounding the alarm over what they see as the enforcement at home and abroad of Chinese business practices not compatible with global norms.


The Japan-U.S. Business Conference, which kicked off here Thursday, planned to release a statement Friday expressing these concerns. The two-day gathering marked the first since the Chinese Communist Party selected its new leadership slate at a twice-a-decade congress last month.


China is apparently forming a new order based on values separate from ours, said Chairman Sadayuki Sakakibara of the Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, in a speech at the conference Thursday. The U.S. side also pointed out that China employs business practices incompatible with American and Japanese interests.


The roundtable is particularly wary of new Chinese cybersecurity legislation that came into force this June. Businesses now need government approval to send customer data collected on the mainland across the border. Groups including Keidanren had unsuccessfully lobbied for free movement of data.


Tokyo and Washington are closely monitoring Beijing’s commitment to protecting intellectual property and have taken a cautious approach to Chinese corporate takeovers of semiconductor and other high-tech companies. The U.S. and Japan agreed in their past two economic dialogues to combat unfair trade practices by third-party states. China is seen as a repeat offender.


The Belt and Road Initiative, which will create land and sea trade routes, aims to set commerce rules favorable to China. A fully implemented Trans-Pacific Partnership was supposed to limit Chinese influence with its own set of free trade rules. But the U.S. has pulled out of the multilateral pact under President Donald Trump and is unlikely to return.


The China issue is expected to come up when Trump meets with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a summit Monday.

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