All That Chinese Investment
WASHINGTON, DC/BRUSSELS (June 22, 2012) - The Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Bertelsmann Stiftung Brussels office and the Bertelsmann Foundation combined forces on June 21 to host in Europe’s capital the official launch of “Cash in Hand: Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the U.S. and Germany”, a joint publication with the Beijing-based China Center for International Economic Exchange (CCIEE). The gathering also served as the inaugural event for the Stiftung’s Asia Briefing series.
Aart De Geus chaired the discussion on the significance of Chinese foreign direct investment following a presentation of the report’s key findings by Bertelsmann Foundation Senior Project Manager Ting Xu and an overview of Chinese investors’ experience in the EU and US by Dr. Wang Tianlong. Xu and Wang are the report’s co-authors.
Five distinguished panelists from the EU, US and China debated recent trends in and the political and economic challenges of Chinese foreign direct investment. The speakers were: Aaron S. Brickman, deputy executive director of SelectUSA, US Department of Commerce; Xue Lan, dean of the School of Public Policy, Tsinghua University; Mauro Petriccione, director for Asia and Latin America, DG Trade, European Commission; Huiyao Wang, director general, Center for China and Globalization; and Guntram Wolff, deputy director, Bruegel.
The panelists praised the timeliness and insightfulness of the report, and welcomed its policy recommendations, given the importance of the rapidly growing amounts of Chinese foreign direct investment in Europe and the US. The upsurge in Chinese money abroad has unsettled many policymakers who fear Beijing’s growing influence in the global economy could undermine national security.
The Chinese speakers urged that Beijing’s state-owned enterprises be treated as the for-profit private firms that they are, not the extension of the government that foreigners often perceive them to be. Their American and European counterparts spoke of the reasons behind the regulation of foreign direct investment and acknowledged that these rules have presented challenges for some Chinese investors. Mr. Petriccione noted another imbalance, this one for European investors. He claimed the absence of EU-wide regulation for foreign investors allows Chinese businessmen to be treated like domestic investors, although such treatment is not accorded foreigners investing in China. He said this was a great concern for European policymakers.
All speakers agreed, however, on the importance of communication among all parties to avoid misunderstandings. They praised the Bertelsmann Stiftung for playing an important role in this effort.
About 70 representatives of the European institutions, the business sector, the diplomatic community and the international press attended.