China's direct investment in the European Union : a new regulatory challenge?
Faculty of Arts. Translators and Interpreters
Faculty of Applied Economics
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Asia Europe journal. - Berlin
, p. 159-177
University of Antwerp
While China is fast becoming an important outward direct investor, its companies are showing an increasing interest to locate in Europe and the European Union (EU). It has been suggested that this can partly be explained by the more lenient attitude of the European countries compared to the US, where some acquisitions were abandoned when they ran into political opposition based on security concerns. Yet, also in Europe, the media follow rather closely each new Chinese entry, and certain politicians have started to criticise the take-over of technology-oriented companies, especially by Chinese state-owned firms. Against the background of a very open foreign direct investment (FDI) policy as measured by OECD FDI Restrictiveness Index for the EU and the individual countries, an overview is given of the pre- and post-establishment obstacles to direct foreign investment. Also, the EU policy measures that directly or indirectly deal with incoming direct investment are discussed. Within the context of the EU competition policy and the merger regulation, the EU Commission has cleared five cases of take-over by Chinese state-owned enterprises. Although the Lisbon Treaty authorises the EU Commission to take charge of investment policy as part of the EU commercial policy, it will take time to realise this. If the announced negotiations about an investment treaty between China and the EU could work out the necessary balance, it would be an important step in achieving more reciprocity between their respective investment regimes.