Is China Safe for Business?


The logo for 3M on a screen above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 24, 2017.



Photo:

Richard Drew/Associated Press

In “A Legal Settlement Shows the Risks of Doing Business in China” (op-ed, March 14),

Jillian Kay Melchior

is right to stress the importance of the rule of law. But these risks extend beyond the absence of a reliable legal system. As we’ve seen with the Ukraine invasion, U.S. companies are taking huge losses after withdrawing from their operations in Russia. So what does the future hold for American business should China invade Taiwan? In 2020 the U.S. did about $615 billion in business with China.

To explore that question, I have filed shareholder proposals this year at 3M and Verizon. What would happen to shareholder value if 3M lost its China operations? What would happen at Verizon if the Chinese supply of smartphones suddenly dried up?

While my 3M proposal will certainly be voted on at this year’s annual meeting, Verizon is asking the Securities and Exchange Commission for permission to block my proposal. Both proposals were filed long before Russia invaded Ukraine.

The Ukraine invasion has been an object lesson in the risks of doing business with a rogue nation. It isn’t too late to learn and prepare for possibly much more dire events.

Steve Milloy

Potomac, Md.

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