Officials from the American Chamber of Commerce in China’s southwestern city of Chengdu said, Chinese authorities have instructed them to close the American Chamber of Commerce.
Earlier this week, the chamber notified its members that, in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations, it had to stop operations and “no longer carry out any activities in the name of the American Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China.”
No specific reason was provided by Chinese officials.
The chamber promotes trade and investment between the United States and the region.
Through a WeChat message, Benjamin Wang, the group’s chairman, said it was in discussions with local authorities about its registration and future direction. He went on to add, China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) appeared to be enforcing a rule that countries should maintain only one official chamber of commerce in the country.
The MCA did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
The Chengdu chamber is not affiliated with the American Chamber of Commerce in China, a business advocacy group based in Beijing with offices in several other cities.
A spokesperson from the U.S. State Department urged Chinese authorities to work with the chamber to resolve any surrounding issues with its registration and future operation. “This closure is only the latest example of how the PRC’s opaque, arbitrary regulatory environment is contributing to an investment climate that is increasingly hostile towards foreign businesses,” said the official using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.