THAAD

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Bad THAAD, THAAD’S Bad: Reflections about China’s Economic Sanctions and their Implications for Multinational Corporations

For about the past three months, Beijing has been escalating economic pressure on South Korea because of the latter’s decision to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system to counter North Korea’s missile threat. Chinese economic coercion has encompassed barriers to Korean cultural products like K-Pop bands, television shows, and online games entering China, bans against Chinese tourists going to Korea, the shutdown of Korean stores in China, the cessation of investment deals, and reduced buying of Korean products.

MNCs in the News-2017-04-07

China’s State Council creates seven new free trade zones bringing the total number in the country to 11. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) pushes foreign businesses to support its efforts to limit capital outflows from China. Prior to Donald Trump-Xi Jinping meeting, Chinese parliamentarian links the quality of the meeting to Google’s prospects for entering China. European Union regulators approve China National Chemical Corporations (ChemChina)’s massive acquisition of Syngenta while requiring some significant divestitures. Trump administration considers some dramatic steps to keep Westinghouse’s nuclear business out of Chinese hands. Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s proposed investment in Stillwater mining may not be golden because of American concerns over strategic materials access. Iran-Japan Investment Treaty enters into force on April 26 and may spur Japanese energy investment in Iran. Japanese foreign acquisitions hit a new record of almost USD $100 billion in fiscal year 2016, but performance is dubious. South Korea’s installation of the THAAD system continues to affect adversely Sino-Korean economic relations and Korean businesses. The fallout between China and South Korea over THAAD contributes to South Korean car manufacturers reducing production in their Chinese factories. Consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies signs contract launching the construction phase of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train project. Afghan President Ghani encourages Indonesian investors to invest in Afghanistan and stresses the security of foreign investors as a top government priority. Tier-one American aerospace manufacturer may invest in Malaysia stimulating business for small and medium enterprises and creating high-income jobs. India and Malaysia sign investment deals with a value of USD $36 billion. Belgium plans to ramp up green energy investment in Vietnam.

MNCs in the News-2017-03-31

Chinese government financial institutions intensify their backing for China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative and press non-governmental bodies to increase their support. Chinese law on joint ventures with specific requirements regarding new energy vehicles alarms foreign carmakers which fear they will be required to transfer technology. Beijing Intellectual Property Court supports Apple on design patent dispute with Shenzhen Baili. United States Trade Representative office issues report on trade barriers, highlighting many problems relating to China’s treatment of American companies in China. Chinese officials continue to defend their intensified oversight of Chinese outward investment. Tsinghua Unigroup garners massive new aid pledges from the China Development Bank and China national chip fund. Myanmar reportedly will restart construction on a China financed oil pipeline. Last week, the Chinese business community in Kenya establishing a lobbying group. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing means troubled Toshiba faces a potential net loss of USD $9 billion net loss in 2016. Russia and Japan discuss plans for investment projects and other joint cooperation on the disputed Kuril Islands. SK Innovation Co. freezes the operations of its battery packing plant in China, denying they relate to Chinese economic sanctions against Korea. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. secures Saudi Arabia seawater desalination deal worth over USD $400 million. Mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia agrees to convert its contract of work into a special mining permit, providing a potential basis for a settlement of its disputes with the Indonesia government.

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-2017-03-10

European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing highlights China’s 2025 Plan as possibly violating China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) commitments. China’s re-imposition of capital controls becomes a hot issue at China’s 2017 National People Congress meeting. Facing seemingly severe constraints on their ability to access/use yuan, Chinese corporate executives are complaining about the impact of such limits on their ability to do deals. In the face of possible increased American trade barriers, Great Wall Motor Co. ponders building its first factory in the United States (U.S.). Wanfeng Auto Holding Group looks to the U.S. for deals to jump potential tariff and other barriers in the U.S. Toyota Motor Corp. may wait until economic fallout of Brexit becomes clearer until it decides whether or not to produce the next generation Auris in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Honda announces plans to invest $150 million in transmission facilities in Georgia and Ohio in the US. Chinese sanctions against South Korea because of the latter’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system hit Korean companies inside and outside China. Korea’s Trade Minister meets with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to seek ways to boost investment and other forms of cooperation. Indonesia explores new levels of investment cooperation with Japan. Indonesia welcomes small amount of investment from Saudi Arabia flowing from visit of Saudi king, but does not receive large amounts expected.

MNCs in the News-2017-03-03

China’s elderly care needs create space for foreign investors. China’s efforts to control capital flight are leading to increased bureaucratic review and deal delays. Japan’s Takata Corp. enters into a settlement pursuant to which it accepted a felony charge and will create two compensation funds worth USD $1 billion. Nissan Motor Co. faces fines relating to worker injuries at its Mississippi and Tennessee auto factories. Despite the threat of Chinese sanctions, Lotte Group exchanges land with the Korean government that the latter wants for its THAAD missile system deployment. In the face of US President Donald Trump’s threat of tariffs on goods imported from Mexico, LG Electronics announced plans for a home appliance plant in Tennessee that will produce for the US market. Freeport McMoran and Indonesia battle it out with some optimistic a settlement will be reached and others fretting about adverse political and economic consequences for Indonesia. Saudi Arabia and Indonesia strike numerous deals following King Salman’s visit to the latter, though Indonesia hopes for tens of billions of dollars more.

MNCs in the News-2017-02-24

Capital outflow limits and consumer sector investment liberalization measures affect both the volume and sectoral distribution of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into China. Chinese restrictions on capital outflows are affecting how sellers perceive Chinese investors. Members of the US Congress are looking to empower the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US to scrutinize Chinese investors more rigorously. The European Commission launches an investigation of planned Chinese high-speed railway project connecting Hungary and Serbia. Uncertainties surrounding Trump Administration policies are making Japanese firms, with the exception of auto firms, cautious about investing in the US. Suzuki Motor Corporation obtains incentives that will cause it to expand its investment in Pakistan. Lotte is explicitly warned by China not to meet the South Korean government’s demand for land for its THAAD system. South Korea’s SKC Ltd. and Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals- Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes Inc. (MCNS) will set up a facility in India to produce polyurethanes. Freeport-McMoRan threatens to sue the Indonesian government if they do not resolve their dispute over Freeport’s obligations. Indonesia solicits Saudi investment, especially in non-oil and non-gas sectors.

MNCs in the News-2017-02-10

China’s goal of shifting to a more consumption, service, and higher-valued added economy is reflected in subnational level data. China remains optimistic about Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2017, but plans to guide it to and sees it encountering many challenges. Syngenta believes the ChemChina-Syngenta acquisition will close in second quarter of 2017 despite remaining regulatory hurdles. China halts major Lotte construction projects in northeastern China in apparent punishment for South Korea’s embrace of THAAD. Prior to Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s early February meeting with US President Donald Trump, Sharp Corp. announced it would build a liquid crystal display panel plant in the US. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son touts his progress in fulfilling his job creation promise to U.S. President Donald Trump. Chinese forthcoming revised anti-monopoly guidelines worry South Korean firms which fear they might be used against it. In the face of political pressures, Samsung Electronics will build its first home appliance plant in the US despite fears about the price competitiveness of US production. Moody’s Investor Service upgrades its credit outlook for Indonesia with positive implications for Indonesia’s ability to attract FDI. Indonesian aviation regulatory burdens cause Tigerair to cease its flights to Bali island.

MNCs in the News-2017-01-06

China forces Apple to withdraw New York Times apps from its China App store. During a visit to Korea, Chinese Foreign Ministry official warns Korean businesses of possible adverse consequences because of South Korea’s adoption of THAAD system. US government report may result in tighter restrictions on foreign involvement in US semiconductor sector with particular ramifications for Chinese investors. There are doubts Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US will be able to maintain the same volume in 2017 as in 2016. Sri Lanka will strike agreements with Chinese investors to advance the Hambantota Port project, but large local protests dampen the atmosphere. Donald Trump blasts Toyota’s plans to invest in Mexico and sell to the US, with Japanese officials defending the contribution of Japanese firms to the US. While growing slowly, inward FDI (IFDI) into South Korea hits new heights with European Union (EU) investors representing a big proportion of investing firms. Indonesia remains optimistic about its ability to attract IFDI despite the fracturing of its partnership with JP Morgan Chase. Thailand plans new measures and new focuses in its efforts to reach new IFDI targets for 2017.

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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