Chinese companies are increasing their spending on lobbyists in order to prevent the negative effects from the current trade war between the U.S. and China.
Eight Chinese companies have cumulatively spent $7.9 million dollars on lobbyists sine last spring. That amounts to nearly eight times what was spent on lobbying during the same time span last year.
The increase in spending is a reaction to President Donald Trump’s treatment of Huawei. Federal criminal charges were brought against the company and Trump has tried to block the company from buying American technology.
The increased lobbying efforts have worked for a Chinese telecoms company called ZTE. The Trump Administration banned American companies from conducting any business with ZTE, after it was found that ZTE had violated US sanctions by selling equipment to Iran and North Korea. However, the millions that ZTE spent on lobbying and direct help from Chinese President Xi Jinping has led Trump to lift the ban and the $1 billion fine.
Trump’s crackdown on Chinese companies comes at a time when there are few legislators willing to advocate for the benefits of increasing trade relations with the Chinese. For example, Senator Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, has expressed suspicion at using Chinese-made drones when speaking at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
“I think we’re crazy to do business with the Chinese. We ought to be buying American products in every way we can,” said Scott during the hearing.
Chinese companies will continue to pour money into lobbyists in order to avoid potential financially crippling treatment from the U.S. government that other companies, like Huawei, have experienced.