China’s Lobbying Game Tested by US, Canada

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.

Read more about Unocal deal and China’s lobbying strategy via China Digital Times.

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