US business lobby urges Trump to 'use every arrow' against China

US business lobby urges Trump to 'use every arrow' against China
The American Chamber of Commerce is urging the White House to protect US business interests in China, warning 2017 could be the toughest year in decades, Reuters reports.

The US business lobby accuses Chinese authorities of protecting domestic firms, narrowing the space for foreign companies.

"Right now basically we are recommending everything you have in your quiver - please use every arrow possible, with the understanding that some of these points of leverage could be counterproductive to us," said Chamber Chairman William Zarit.

President Trump took office pledging to take a harder stance on Beijing. He promised to curb the US trade deficit with China, which reached $347 billion last year.

During the campaign, Trump called China a currency manipulator, but last week the president backed away from the accusation.

“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens!” Trump tweeted on Sunday.

According to Zarit, Trump’s deal with China on North Korea can hurt US business interests, as Beijing can offer subsidies of billions of dollars to domestic competitors.

"I'm sorry to see there is a possibility we may lose some momentum on helping to level the playing field with China in our economic relationship, due to the situation in North Korea, if there is some kind of trade-off," Zarit said.

"With uncertainty stemming from political and economic transitions in both the US and China, perceptions of a deteriorating investment environment for foreign companies in China, and a slowing economy, 2017 will likely be one of the most challenging years in decades for US companies in China," he added.