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China Shuts American Chamber of Commerce in Chengdu

Chinese authorities have ordered an American Chamber of Commerce in the southwestern city of Chengdu to cease operations, saying there should only be one chamber in the country


Chinese and US flags are set up for a meeting at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing in April 2018. Photo: Jason Lee, Reuters.

 

Chinese authorities have instructed an American Chamber of Commerce in the southwestern city of Chengdu to cease operations, officials with the organisation said on Tuesday.

The chamber notified members on Monday that, in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, it had to stop operations and “no longer carry out any activities in the name of the American Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China”.

The statement, seen by Reuters, did not provide a specific reason why the chamber, which promotes trade and investment between the United States and the region, had been instructed to cease operations.

Benjamin Wang, the group’s chairman, told Reuters by WeChat message that it was in discussions with local authorities about its registration and future direction.

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) appeared to be enforcing a rule that countries maintain only one official chamber of commerce in the country, Wang said.

The MCA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Chengdu chamber is not affiliated with the American Chamber of Commerce in China, a business advocacy group based in Beijing with offices in several other cities.

The closure of the chamber comes just over one year after China closed the US consulate in Chengdu, in retaliation for China’s ouster from its consulate in Houston a week earlier.

• Reuters and Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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