财富中文网 >> 商业
Verne Kopytoff | 2012-10-12 14:10
本周，美国国会的一份报告明确建议，美国公司与政府部门应该排斥两家中国最大的电信公司。报告称，从这两家公司购买设备将威胁美国国家安全。美国众议院情报委员会（the House Intelligence Committee）对两家中国公司——华为（Huawei Technologies）与中兴（ZTE Corp.）——展开毁灭性打击，似乎给美国公司带来了巨大的发展机会。可事实上，美国公司面临的境况可能截然相反。
据贸易政策专家称，为了反击美国国会的攻击，中国可能会提高关税、或者禁止进口某些设备，从而对美国科技进口设置障碍。这种策略将使美国公司受到严重伤害，因为美国公司的销售与增长越来越依赖中国。可谓利害攸关。据美国商务部（the Commerce Department）公布，去年，美国公司向中国出售的高新技术价值200亿美元。加州大学（University of California）洛杉矶分校商学教授克里斯托弗•唐致力于研究制造业与中国市场，他说：“我认为中国肯定会进行报复性的反击。这是一场政治博弈。”
10月10日，中国商务部（the Commerce Ministry）发言人沈丹阳在新华社（Xinhua news agency）的一篇报道中回应称，这种指责的依据仅仅是“主观猜忌”和“不实依据”。他认为，美国此举违反了其一直坚持的自由市场原则，将破坏两国之间的合作与发展。沈丹阳说：“我们希望美国能做出切实努力，为两国公司创造一个公平、公正的市场环境，促进两国经济与贸易关系的健康发展。”
市场调查公司ACG Research的主理合伙人瑞•摩塔认为，从短期来看，思科（Cisco Systems）和瞻博网络（Juniper Networks）等美国公司可能从中受益。因为它们的中国竞争对手忙于弥补声誉损失的时候，美国公司可能赢得更多合同。但摩塔解释说，从长期来看，美国科技公司免不了陷入动荡。贸易战一旦爆发，它们就会失去在中国的所有业务。他说：“这取决于中国政府态度的强硬程度。它可能给美国公司带来伤害。”
A congressional report this week recommended in no uncertain terms that U.S. companies and government agencies avoid two of China's biggest telecommunications companies. Buying equipment from them risks national security, the report said. The House Intelligence Committee's withering attack on the two Chinese companies, Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp., would seem like a big opportunity for U.S. firms to gain ground. The reality for U.S. businesses, however, could be the very opposite.
In response to the congressional assault, China may throw up roadblocks against the U.S. tech imports by raising tariffs or prohibiting certain kinds of equipment, according to trade policy experts. Such a tactic would harm U.S. companies, which increasingly count on China for sales and growth. The stakes are huge. Last year, U.S. firms sold $20 billion in advanced technology to China, according to the Commerce Department. "I'm afraid that there will be some sort of retaliatory attack," said Christopher Tang, a business professor at University of California at Los Angeles whose focus is manufacturing and China. "It's a political game."
The bipartisan congressional report looked exclusively at Huawei and ZTE, two global businesses that sell gear for connecting phone calls and routing Internet traffic. Investigators said that China's government could tamper with the technology to spy and to steal trade secrets. Both companies failed to provide details about their corporate control and government ties, they said. The presence of Communist Party offices in the companies' headquarters also raised red flags. (Note that neither is a so-called SOE, state-owned enterprise.)
On October 10, Shen Danyang, a spokesman for China's Commerce Ministry, responded in an article by the official Xinhua news agency that the accusations were based on "subjective guesswork" and "untrue evidence." He said that the U.S. had violated its long-held free-market principles and risked undermining cooperation and development between the two countries. "We hope the United States can make concrete efforts to create a just and fair market environment for the two countries' companies and promote a sound development of bilateral economic and trade ties," Shen said.
In the short-term, Ray Mota, managing partner for ACG Research, a market research firm that tracks the technology industry, said that U.S. companies like Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Juniper Networks (JNPR) would benefit. While their Chinese rivals try to repair their reputations, U.S. companies will likely win more contracts. Longer-term, however, U.S. tech companies may be in for turbulence, Mota explained. If a trade war starts, they will likely lose business in China. "It depends on how much hardball the Chinese government wants to play," he said. "This is something that could hurt U.S. companies."
Richard D'Aveni, a business professor at Dartmouth College, predicted that China would indeed retaliate, but that it would wait until later rather than acting quickly. And don't expect a big announcement because it's not their style. "I think the Chinese will be more subtle," said D'Aveni, who is the author of Strategic Capitalism: The New Economic Strategy for Winning the Capitalism Cold War. "The Chinese don't usually react directly. They will strike somewhere else, or in some other way to send a signal that they are displeased."
Eliminating U.S. tech imports in five years, or at least some of them -- without ever publicly announcing such a plan -- is one way, D'Aveni said. Another is to raise the price for Chinese-made integrated circuits, on which the U.S. technology industry depends. Curiously silent on the report is the U.S. technology industry. Several industry trade groups declined to comment or failed to respond to messages seeking an interview.
Defending Huawei and ZTE risks branding U.S. tech companies as unpatriotic, D'Aveni said. Meanwhile, siding against them would antagonize their Chinese suppliers, partners and customers. "Their best move is to stay silent, but behind the scenes, lobby for supplies," he added.
Indeed, the situation is complicated by the interdependence of both nations. Cutting off trade is nearly impossible. China needs U.S. technology to keep its infrastructure and factories operating. Meanwhile, U.S. tech manufacturers depend on Chinese components. The lines are so blurry that a product's origin is often a matter of semantics. Apple's (AAPL) iPhones and iPads, for example, are largely assembled in China. Similar cross-pollination is the norm for U.S. telecommunications equipment makers. Congressional investigators, however, did not look at any security risks created by such ties.
U.C.L.A. professor Tang said that politics are helping to inflame the situation. China and the U.S. are in the process of selecting new presidents. Political forces from both countries are using the trade disagreement to drum up support. "The timing is a bit awkward," Tang said. The topic will undoubtedly come up in future trade negotiations, he explained. But there won't be any definitive move from China until it has a new leader, who will inevitably "say there's a conspiracy -- that the U.S. is against China -- and we need to do x, y and z."