Getting Started

Doing Business in China

U.S. embassies are committed to supporting U.S. companies to start exporting or grow their exports to China.  In this section, you’ll find a quick description of China as an export market and some suggestions for getting started.

Below are practical steps a potential investor (or exporter) can follow to make best use of U.S. government services.

1.  Visit the U.S. Commercial Service’s page on China for an overview of economic conditions and opportunities.  Access the U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library containing more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, authored by our specialists working in overseas posts.

The Library Includes:

  • Country Commercial Guides (read latest “Doing Business In” guides)
  • Industry Overviews
  • Market Updates
  • Multilateral Development Bank Reports
  • Best Markets
  • Industry/Regional Reports

2.  Contact your local U.S. Export Assistance Center for advice and support on exporting to China.

3.  If you are planning a visit to consider investment, let us know by contacting us at one of our in-country offices:

U.S. Commercial Service

The U.S. Commercial Service in China offers valuable assistance to American businesses exporting goods and services to China. Our office is part of a global network of trade specialists dedicated to assisting U.S. commercial interests worldwide.Trade specialists at each of our regional locations in China, including the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and five Consulates in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang and Wuhan, are happy to help identify trade opportunities and local potential trading partners within their perspective regions, as well as provide invaluable information across a variety of different industry sectors.

U.S. Commercial Service – Beijing
(Covering the following areas: Beijing, Hohhot, Jingdezhen, Lanzhou, Nanchang, Qingdao, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Urumqi, Xining, Xian, Yanan, Yinchuan, Zhengzhou Jinan)
Phone: +86-10 8531-3000
Fax: +86-10 8531-3701
Email: Office.Beijing@trade.gov

U.S. Commercial Service – Chengdu (Covering Chengdu, Chongqing, Guiyang, Kunming, Lhasa, Shangri La)
Phone: +86-28 8558-3992
Fax: +86-28 8558-9221
Email: Office.Chengdu@trade.gov

U.S. Commercial Service – Guangzhou (Covering Changsha, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Guilin, Haikou, Meizhou, Nanning, Sanya, Wuhan, Xiamen)
Phone: +86-20 8667-4011
Fax: +86-20 8666-6409
Email: Office.Guangzhou@trade.gov

U.S. Commercial Service – Shanghai (Covering Hangzhou, Hefei, Nanjing, Shanghai, Wenzhou)
Phone: +86-21 6279-7630
Fax: +86-21 6279-7639
Email: Office.Shanghai@trade.gov

U.S. Commercial Service – Shenyang (Covering Changchun, Dailan, Dandong, Harbin, Mudiang, Shenyang, Shuangyashan)
Phone: +86-24 2322-1198
Fax: +86-24 2322-2206
Email: Office.Shenyang@trade.gov

U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.  USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.

Phone: +86-10 8531-3946
Email: East_Asia@ustda.gov

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Foreign Agricultural Service

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) works to advance opportunities for U.S. agriculture and support U.S. foreign policy around the globe. FAS operates six offices in China. These include one Office of Agricultural Affairs (OAA) located in Beijing and five Agricultural Trade Offices (ATOs) located in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang. Beijing OAA is responsible for trade policy and commodity analysis, and assists with market access and technical phytosanitary issues for all of China. Agricultural Trade Offices were created with the sole purpose of focusing on agricultural marketing efforts. All five ATOs in China provide support, assistance, and oversight to USDA cooperators, work directly with U.S. companies to help them gain the knowledge and contacts needed to begin exporting to China, and prepare and disseminate reports about China’s agricultural market. The offices coordinate U.S. participation in various trade shows, sponsor marketing activities to introduce companies handling U.S. products to key retailers, food service and food processing companies throughout China, and provide guidance in the resolution of customs clearance issues.Visit USDA’s China website (www.usdachina.com) to find contact information for all of USDA’s in-country offices, as well as a calendar of events and other information and reports.

4.  Contact in-country business support organizations or public-private partnerships.

5.  Make use of business matchmaking services.

6. Visit host country resources, such as Invest in China: http://www.fdi.gov.cn/pub/FDI_EN/default.htm

If you are a current U.S. investor or exporter in China, the U.S Embassy wants to stay in touch. Here are a few steps you can take to keep the channels of communication open:

  • Register with the U.S. Embassy – If you are active in China, let us know by sending an email to the contact addresses on this page.
  • Add us to your mailing lists – we are always happy to stay informed
  • Subscribe to our embassy Twitter feed
  • Set up a meeting with our economic or commercial team to discuss any issues that arise

Business Visas

For information on obtaining a visa to visit China, visit the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. website.

Travel Advisories

Make sure to check the current State Department travel advisory http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html for China

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

FCPA is an important anti-corruption tool designed to discourage corrupt business practices in favor of free and fair markets.  The FCPA prohibits promising, offering, giving or authorizing giving anything of value to a foreign government official where the purpose is to obtain or retain business.  These prohibitions apply to U.S. persons, both individuals and companies, and companies that are listed on U.S. exchanges. The statute also requires companies publicly traded in the U.S. to keep accurate books and records and implement appropriate internal controls.

More information on the FCPA can be found here: http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa/guidance/

A party to a transaction seeking to know whether a proposed course of conduct would violate the FCPA can take advantage of the opinion procedure established by the statue.  Within 30 days of receiving a description of a proposed course of conduct in writing, the Attorney General will provide the party with a written opinion on whether the proposed conduct would violate the FCPA.  Not only do opinions provide the requesting party with a rebuttable presumption that the conduct does not violate the FCPA, but DOJ publishes past opinions which can provide guidance for other companies facing similar situations.