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German policies hit ties, say experts

By ZHOU WA in Beijing and YU RAN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-07 08:56

The unpredictability and uncertainty of German policies will influence the investment environment in Germany and trigger loss of investors, officials and industry experts warned.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy recently withdrew its approval of a Chinese company's takeover of German chip equipment maker Aixtron SE. It said it would review the deal, which was approved in September.

The ministry's move will throw up obstacles for the 670-million-euro ($743 million) deal from Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP and wield a negative influence over the credibility of the German government, said Duan Wei, general manager of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany.

"We are concerned about the German government's political intervention in the normal investment operation from a Chinese company and cannot understand its contradictory move in such a short time," Duan said.

"The unpredictability and uncertainty of policies will influence the investment environment in Germany and trigger loss of investors. We expect German authorities to contribute more to trade liberalization and facilitation," he added.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce hopes the German government's recent investigation is "an exception" and doesn't represent a policy against Chinese businesses, the ministry's spokesman Shen Danyang said on Nov 2.

Shen said even though Chinese investment in Germany has grown rapidly in recent years, the total volume is still relatively small, and so it's unnecessary for German officials to worry that German technology and jobs will be lost as a result of Chinese investment.

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) also warned against obstacles erected by the ministry.

"I think that is not the right way. Germany, particularly, relies on exports as well as open markets in other countries. It is not convincing to set barriers, when you yourself rely on the open markets of other countries at the same time," DIHK President Eric Schweitzer told German television ARD.

"German enterprises have invested more than 60 billion euro ($66.54 billion) in China, while only 2 or 3 billion has come in the reverse direction. I think it would be correct when an improved balance could be reached here, so that we could stand in a better position during negotiations," he added.

Led by the central government's strategy, more Chinese companies are keen to invest and purchase overseas ventures. Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that Chinese companies have completed a total of 521 acquisition projects worth more than $67.4 billion in 67 countries and regions covering 18 industries so far this year.

The amount has already passed last year's total of $54.4 billion.

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