Although most Chinese trading firms are used to settling in dollars, some smaller companies and nonprofits would prefer to pay in their own currency, he added. By shopping around, Georgia exporters can get better prices for their goods.
On the other hand, some Chinese buyers might be repelled by the prospect of paying in RMB. Some think the process is too cumbersome. Others justify paying lower prices by the fact that they're assuming the currency risk of the transaction as the RMB rises against the dollar. By offering to accept RMB, the U.S. firm takes on that risk but also gains more control.
Chinese partners that refuse to pay in RMB based on bureaucratic concerns are likely operating with old information that changed with last July's reforms, intentionally or not, Mr. Tsim said.
"Don't believe their excuses, because it's no longer true," he told an audience member who brought up common objections he's faced in dealing with Chinese suppliers.
U.S. exporters are dealing with the currency challenge in different ways.
Atlanta-based Micromeritics Instrument Corp. has been selling high-tech lab instruments measuring particle sizes to China since just after the country's reopening in 1978. Two years ago, it opened a wholly foreign-owned enterprise, or WFOE, in China to begin making direct sales, protecting its technology and cutting out distributors who ate into margins.
The main customers are universities, which are required to use dollars for cross-border transactions in order to qualify for a value-added tax credit offered by the Chinese government.
That won't change soon, but Micromeritics is also working to accept RMB in order to attract smaller business from private companies, said Bob Johnson, the company's international business manager.
Georgia companies buying from China can also benefit from using RMB.
On average Chinese exporters charge about a 5 percent premium to settle transactions in U.S. dollars versus RMB, according to a Wall Street Journal study cited by Mr. Tsim.