Doing business in China has become more difficult for many European companies, with a large percentage complaining about unfair treatment, a fresh study says. The findings contradict Beijing's rhetoric.
European firms were finding it increasingly tough to conduct business in China, a survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China revealed Wednesday.
Respondents accused the government in Beijing of limiting their access to the market in favor of domestic companies.
Almost 80 percent of those polled said market access barriers were the worst form of imbalance in EU-China business relations, while many complained that environmental regulations were more strongly enforced against foreign firms.
Half of the 570 respondents that took part in the survey said they felt less welcome than when they first came to the Asian nation.
As the United States promotes protectionism under the Trump administration, China has in recent months become a champion of free trade and globalization. But often, the government's rhetoric didn't match the realities on the ground, the survey concluded.
Only 4 percent of those polled saw a significant opening of the Chinese market for foreign companies.
"For the market forces to play a positive role there needs to be a level playing field," the chamber's president, Mats Harborn, said in a statement. "Our member countries do not see that that sort of level playing field has been created."
The survey came ahead of German-Chinese talks in Berlin on Wednesday and a round of EU-China talks in Brussels on Thursday where two-way investment and trade activities were bound to be high on the agenda.
hg/jd (dpa, AFP)