BEIJING - Chinese companies are optimistic about investing in Europe even though the continent is still struggling with the sovereign-debt crisis, a survey showed Thursday.
The Chinese Outbound Investment in the European Union survey, released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), showed that 97 percent of 74 surveyed enterprises plan to invest further in the EU, with 82 percent planning to make large investments.
Davide Cucino, EUCCC president, said many Chinese investors regard the EU as a welcoming market that offers advanced technologies, skilled labor and a transparent legal environment.
He said another reason is that the EU has few market access barriers and little history of opposition to Chinese investment on national security grounds.
Despite the optimism, the respondents have concerns about the operating environment in the EU.
The survey showed that 78 percent of Chinese investors have encountered operational difficulties in the EU, mostly related to issues of bureaucracy and high costs.
Further, 48 percent have met regulatory approval obstacles in Europe, with these mostly arising at a local level, the survey found.
Cucino said the major obstacles include "obtaining visas and work permits for Chinese employees, and problems dealing with European labor laws."
A lack of uniform legislation covering the EU's 27 member states also contributed to difficulties, he said.
He suggested that the EU simplify its bureaucracy in handling foreign investments and provide a "one-stop" law and supervising system for Chinese investors. He added that the EU should never close its market with regulatory approval issues.
In addition, 27 percent of survey respondents have experienced obstacles in outbound investment approval processes within China.
Cucino said that the Chinese government should simplify its bureaucracy, suggesting that China establish a EUCCC-like association in Europe to help facilitate investments there.