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“I think the government is doing the right thing,” Mr. Yam said, adding that he wonders whether the government can enforce the law. He noted the last time Beijing tried to implement it, during the start of the worldwide economic downturn, the government reversed it overnight.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who recently has traveled to China to promote U.S.-China trade, said some American firms found “promising opportunities” for sales of goods related to clean energy, energy efficiency and electric energy storage in China, because of the need to reduce China’s pollution levels.

Regardless of the policy changes, the USCBC’s Mr. Poole said many American businesses “remain committed to and confident in the China market” and prefer to resolve their differences through dialogue, especially considering China’s 1.4 billion potential consumers and extensive cultural and monetary influence in Southeast Asia.

“The Chinese market is one America can’t ignore, no matter what the policies are,” Mr. Yam said.