Russia

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

The Return of the Great Game and Infrastructure

The Great Game was a geopolitical contest for influence and dominance in Central Asia between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire that occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The game was played out over vast distances, with a mix of spies, money and armies.

MNCs in the News-2017-10-20

At 19th Party Congress, China promises greater market openness for foreign investors, but foreign businesses and governments cautious. Top China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) official says foreign banks may get more latitude in entering and operating in China’s banking sector. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) plummeted 41.9 percent over the first nine months of 2016 year-over-year. In the first three quarters of 2016, Chinese outward merger and acquisitions activity drops significantly in both deal volume and size. Toyota and Mazda seek USD $1 billion incentive package from US states bidding for their joint car factory. SoftBank Group struggling to carry out US investments after several of its deals have been caught up in the CFIUS review process. US Department of Justice demands Kobe Steel release all information related to it falsified steel and metal data. SK-Sinopec JV to expand its Wuhan Petrochemical plant mirroring success of SK Innovation’s China Insider strategy. Korean battery manufacturers finding backdoors into the Chinese market despite Chinese government’s preferential treatment of domestic firms. Indonesia works to attract private investment despite bad atmosphere created by problems with Freeport-McMoran. Freeport-McMoRan facing labor union protests over anticipated layoffs. New US-Thai joint committee formed to increase bilateral investment following Thai Prime Minister’s recent US visit. Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industries leads trade mission to Europe to attract German investment. MITI reports a decline in investments this year. Vietnamese government begins implementing its divestment plan for Dung Quat Oil Refinery, attracts foreign investors. Foreign brewers eagerly awaiting Vietnamese government’s divestment plans for country’s largest domestic brewer Sabeco.

MNCs in the News-2017-09-08

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission states China is moving to increase foreign involvement in the insurance sector. In conjunction with the latest BRICs meeting, State Grid of China touts its contribution to and presence in Brazil. Kawasaki Heavy Industries competing for USD $3.2 billion contract to build subway cars from New York’s state-run Metropolitan Transpiration Authority. Foxconn joins bidding process for Japanese chipmaker Toshiba’s USD $19.5 billion NAND memory technology. North Korea’s missile launch explodes USD $1.5 billion South Korea’s shipbuilding industry deal with foreign firm. Beijing Hyundai resumes operation at stalled Changzhou (China) facility, but the firm still faces many other challenges. Freeport McMoran to retain control over operations of Grasberg mine, with USD $750 million investment to be made next year. Indonesia urges APEC to boost cross-border investment by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises. Thailand's small and medium-sized enterprises urged to invest in Mandalay, Myanmar because of favorable economic and political environments. Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC and Russia’s Seaport of Azov sign memorandum of understanding to jointly build Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex. South Korean investment in Vietnam continues to soar as tariffs reductions from the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement slowly come into effect.

MNCs in the News-2017-08-25

China’s State Council issues comprehensive guidelines in an effort to provide a more welcoming environment for inward foreign direct investment (FDI). Foreign firms increasingly fret about pressures to give more power to Chinese Communist Party organizations in their joint ventures. China’s Ministry of Commerce moves to restrain the sectoral and geographic destination of Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) while leaving the space for high-tech and Belt and Road Initiative OFDI. Chinese real estate firms will continue to have strong reasons for OFDI even though they have severely cut OFDI in 2017 due to government controls. Talks between Toshiba Corp. and government led consortium of American, South Korean, and Japanese investment entities break down. Russian moves to encourage investment on disputed Kuril Islands angers Japan. China sales by South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia down for the sixth month straight due to politics, market challenges and branding issues. China’s feud with South Korea over THAAD missile installation harming its own workers and firms. LG Electronics Inc. begins construction of USD $250 million home appliance manufacturing plant in the US following Trump administration’s move to foster a positive investment climate. Under siege at home, China’s Anbang Insurance Group struggling in South Korea and drawing more regulatory attention there. Indonesia’s PT Intra Asia signs memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s state-owned Coal and Resources department for USD $1 billion coal port. Trade delegation from the UK reaches out to Indonesian government in preparation for post-Brexit trade and investment agreements. Malaysia experiencing strong economic growth due to infrastructure projects the government is implementing across the country. PetroVietnam signs Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand’s Siam Cement Group’s chemical subsidiary to jointly build USD $5.4 billion petrochemical complex. Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment elaborates upon features of the country’s three new specialized special economic zones

Wong MNC Center Executive Director Blanchard speaks at the 10th Baltic Sea Region Forum

At the end of May, Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, Executive Director of the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations (Wong MNC Center) participated in a panel called “The Art of Attracting Investments and Doing Business in the Baltic Sea Region” at the international 10th Baltic Sea Region Forum orchestrated by the Centrum Balticum and held in Turku, Finland. On the panel, which involved academics/researchers, investment promotion professionals, and policymakers from Finland, Russia, Sweden, the United States, and elsewhere, Dr.

MNCs in the News-2017-06-23

China’s State Council announces that 27 restrictions relating to foreign direct investment (FDI) in its free-trade zones have been eliminated. China’s non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) plunges by almost 53 percent for the first five months of the year year-over-year (YOY). Chinese legal experts suggest new international legal mechanisms may be needed to deal with disputes involving Chinese OFDI. China’s Huadian, a state-owned enterprises (SOE), and Russia’s TGC-2 announce nearly $600 million joint venture power project has come online. After years of decline because of political tensions Japanese companies now more willing to invest in China. Survey shows Japanese firms willing to increase investment in Thailand especially in Eastern Economic Corridor. Samsung Electronics Co. about to finalize talks on expanding its US production facilities, a move motivated by Donald Trump’s election. Jakarta promises more easing of rules to increase foreign investment. PGN, Indonesia’s National Gas company, plans to make Batam Indonesia a center of natural gas supplies and a “paradise” for energy investors. Malaysia Digital Economy Corp welcomes Japanese ICT firms to use Malaysia as a stepping-stone for entering the Southeast Asian market. Malaysia’s Construction Industry Development Board to participate in bidding process for Indian railway stations’ makeover.

MNCs in the News-2017-06-09

At the 5th Global CEO Roundtable Summit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang states that his government will move in several areas to improve the environment for foreign businesses. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) dismisses European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China criticisms of China’s investment environment while opining China still welcomes European investment. ZTE Nigeria denies it is abusing expatriate quota limits and touts its employment practices in the country. Nomura Holding Inc. acquires Venezuelan state oil bonds for USD $100 million provoking strong denunciations by the political opposition. Western Digital abandons plans for a majority share in Toshiba chip division while trying to use the International Court of Arbitration to block Toshiba’s creation of a separate memory chip subsidiary. Hyundai Motors joins smart car partnership with Baidu to foster better Korean-Sino relations. Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries establishes joint venture with Zvezda Shipbuilding to service Russian state-owned enterprise ship needs. Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia seeks support from Indonesian Vice President to implement Jakarta-Bandung bullet train project. United States President invites Thai Prime Minister to visit White House in July to discuss investment and other issues. Sale of Petronas’ 49% share in offshore gas block advances to second round despite political opposition. International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa urges Malaysians to adopt rational attitude towards its local equity ownership policy. IE Singapore signs memorandum of understanding with Myanmar Investment Commission. Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Party Committee welcomes more US investment. Vietnamese Prime Minister promises to improve business environment of his country to attract more Japanese investment.

MNCs in the News-2017-04-28

China’s ambitions to become one of the world’s great auto manufacturers lead it to consider relaxing its limits on foreign auto investment in the United States. Recent report touts increasing volume of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US and commensurate job contribution. Abe-Putin summit leads to 20 agreements for joint projects involving Japanese investment, technology transfer, and other forms of economic cooperation. Korea and US hold conference on cooperation in energy sector following the Trump administration’s new America First energy policy. Concerns over governance, transparency and competitiveness of the issuance of contracts make Perkasa demand public discussions on FDI in Malaysia. Malaysia’s health care system and medical tourism facilitate growth in the country’s inward FDI. South Korea’s Posco Group awaits Vietnamese government approval for build-operate-transfer clean coal power plant. Vietnam’s PV Gas and foreign partners to construct a USD $1.27 billion natural gas pipeline in Vietnam.

MNCs in the News-2017-03-24

The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (United States) has called for global action in the face of China’s Made in China 2025 plan. Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) official defends his country’s “Made in China 2025” plan. China’s Food and Drug Administration issues draft policy that would allow foreign drugs to be tested and approved much more quickly in China. During a visit to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook announces Apple will open new R&D centers in Shanghai and Suzhou. Microsoft touts the development of a China-specific Windows 10 operating system that is “secure and controllable.” Chinese government agencies are working on a policy that would specify those sectors where outward foreign direct investment (FDI) was encouraged and those where it was restricted. Tokyo says it does not plan to support troubled Toshiba and that it will share information with Washington about Toshiba and its bankrupt US nuclear division. Japanese and Russian officials meet to discuss ways to jointly develop the islands off Hokkaido they both claim. South Korea asks the World Trade Organization to review Chinese sanctions against Korean companies relating to its deployment of THAAD. South Korea’s SK Engineering & Constructions partners with Turkey’s UNIT International to win multi-billion dollar power plant construction project in Iran. Energy firms urge Indonesian government to enhance its policies in the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors.

MNCs in the News-2016-12-23

American firms fret that Trump’s stances on China trade and Taiwan may lead China to retaliate against them. Chinese firm drops contract with Korean software and platform provider due to sensitivities about Korea’s decision to deploy the THAAD system. Foreign decision makers strongly distrust Chinese state-owned enterprises where merger and acquisition deals are concerned. China retorts those critics arguing One Belt, One Road is a massive dumping scheme do not understand the idea of a double circulation economy. Japan is moving to force foreign pharmaceutical product prices to undergo annual reviews. Softbank pledges $1 billion investment in United States (US) as a partial fulfillment of a commitment made to US president-elect Trump. Russia, Japan, and many private companies strike new deals leading to cooperation possibilities in new areas. Japanese firms still intrigued by opportunities in the United Kingdom (UK) despite Brexit. The UK and Japan glow about a major nuclear cooperation agreement. The European Commission has fined Sony Corp., Panasonic Corp., and Sanyo Electric Co. regarding rechargeable lithium-ion battery price fixing. Investment in South Korea’s free economic zones is soaring but below prior highs. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. wins two orders including one from Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, the latter’s first post sanction order. Indonesia and Google fail to come to a settlement about Google’s alleged tax underpayments. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha orders mine operated by Australian gold miner Kingsgate subsidiary Akara Resources to shut down for health and environmental reasons. Vietnam’s inward FDI hits new low for the year.

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