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Brussels sends strong message with FDI vetting plan

European Commission outlined plans to implement more stringent vetting of overseas investment, specifically aimed at empowering EU governments to block takeovers from Chinese and other investors.

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In a show of resolve, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on September 13 outlined plans to implement more stringent vetting of overseas investment, specifically aimed at empowering EU governments to block takeovers from Chinese and other investors.

Set out in Mr Juncker’s State of the Union speech to the European Parliament, the draft EU screening framework is described as an effort to protect companies in industry sectors deemed sensitive, such as energy and advanced technology.

In an unprecedented move, the legislation includes an ‘anti-circumvention’ clause, which would allow individual governments to block acquisitions attempted by European shell companies, or those established by foreigners in the bloc – a power normally disallowed due to EU free movement of capital laws.

The added scrutiny comes in response to security concerns and criticism of unequal market access between the EU and China in particular: in 2016, China’s investment into the EU was quadruple that of EU countries into China.

A joint report by think tanks Rhodium and the Mercator Institute for China Studies found that in 2016, China made €35.1bn-worth of acquisitions in the EU, while EU acquisitions in China for the same year totalled a mere €7.7bn. This is because many more sectors of Chinese industry are closed to foreign investors compared to their counterparts in Europe.

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China

RCEP and China: Reimagining the future of trade in Asia

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could eventually usher in an era of much deeper regional integration: for corporates doing business in the region, their future success may well hinge on how adeptly they manage to navigate the evolution of Asia’s trade landscape under the RCEP.

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Last month, 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region – including the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea – signed the landmark Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the final day of the 37th ASEAN Summit.

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Thailand ready to ink big Chinese-backed trade deal

The RCEP will cover all 10 Asean member states plus five partners: China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea and will take effect from the middle of 2021 if at least six Asean members and three partners agree to its terms.

Olivier Languepin

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Thailand is set to sign the world’s biggest free trade agreement with Japan, China, South Korea and 12 other Asia-Pacific countries at the 37th Asean Summit this week.

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Great Wall Motor (China) takes over GM factory in Thailand

The Thai production hub will become operational in the first quarter of 2021 with automobile production capacity of 80,000 units per annum.

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Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) hosted a ceremony on November 2nd to celebrate the latest milestone in taking full ownership of Rayong Manufacturing Facility in Thailand.

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