Corporate takeovers: Should the EU curb China?

Berlin, Paris and Rome want to protect European businesses from Chinese takeovers. They are calling for the EU Commission to determine in the future whether a takeover is being driven by market forces or political objectives. The plans are likely to meet with resistance from a number of other EU countries. Commentators are fairly sympathetic to the initiative nevertheless.

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Svenska Dagbladet (SE) /

This is not fair competition

China's trading partners would do well to impose limits on the country to regulate its aggressive economic policy, Svenska Dagbladet urges:

“China's market economy is not like that of the US or the EU. The Communist Party takes all the decisions, and undermines competition to the benefit of Chinese businesses. Or it resorts to extortionist tactics to appropriate foreign intellectual property. If the EU, the US, Japan and other developed economies don't confront China on this matter now, it will soon be too late.”

Les Echos (FR) /

No politically motivated investments

The EU urgently needs to develop a mechanism for monitoring and assessing Chinese investments, Les Echos demands:

“The point is to check whether these acquisitions follow a political logic dictated by the government in Beijing, or whether they are the result of purely economic factors. ... Political power is so intertwined with business in China that scepticism is called for here, to put it mildly. ... The Europeans must listen to the arguments of countries like the Netherlands, Portugal or Finland, which need or welcome Chinese investments. But innovation is too sensitive a sector for the rules of the game not to apply.”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Same rules for all

It makes sense to protect oneself as long as there are no universal regulations governing the global market, Il Sole 24 Ore believes:

“Why treat investors from China, India or Qatar differently than American ones? To protect your country's key technologies. And based on the principle of reciprocity. The question of reciprocity is essential when it comes to the rapid growth of economies which are still significantly controlled by the state and which are becoming important partners for our businesses. When it comes to market access the same rules should apply to all investors. But with emerging nations this is not the case. ... And since these countries have no clear regulations on government aid, investors there can profit from financial subventions, in other words, from investment dumping.”