The world’s second largest economy is shunning confrontational tactics in business dealings with the U.S. and Canada in favor of a newly adopted lobbying strategy, which is being tested by its North American partners. From Paul Eckert, Rachelle Younglai and David Ljunggren at Reuters:
Instead of issuing tirades, the Chinese hire top-notch lobbying firms whose ranks are filled with well-connected former U.S. and Canadian officials; buy TV advertisements to buff their image; and seek acquisitions less likely to stir nationalistic fervor.
[…] The turning point for Chinese lobbying efforts in North America was the tumultuous CNOOC attempt to buy Unocal, whose blue-and-orange gas station signs were something of an icon to many, including some U.S. lawmakers.
[…] Just over a week after the vote, the Chinese Embassy retained top lobbying firm Patton Boggs. The monthly retainer, which was initially $22,000, has since climbed to $35,000, according to the latest forms disclosed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
A handful of lawmakers, who were shocked at the visceral reaction to the Unocal deal, formed a group to help China understand Congress and vice versa. The Chinese Embassy started inviting members of Congress to meet their policymakers and its ambassador – then the suave and good-humored Zhou Wenzhong – paid visits to Capitol Hill where he would take verbal beatings over volatile issues such as China’s support for Sudan.