MNCs in the News*
April 15th, 2019
Recent report forecasts massive increase in China’s inbound mergers and acquisitions (M&As) between 2020 and 2029. Pursuant to its trade negotiations with the United States (US), China considers eliminating entrance barriers to its cloud computing market like requiring overseas companies to form joint ventures (JVs) with Chinese firms. Chinese and European Union (EU) leaders commit to conclude a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) by next year. At the summit of Central and Eastern European countries and China in Dubrovnik, Greece announces it will join China’s 16+1 Initiative. Following the EU and United Kingdom’s delay of Brexit by six months, Tokyo pledged to continue to lobby against a no-deal Brexit and to monitor developments. Regarding the Carlos Ghosn case, France stressed to Japan that it respects the sovereignty of Japan’s judicial system and also would provide consular protection to Ghosn. Korean companies lobby their government to deal with the EU’s growing pressure on South Korea to ratify key International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions
April 8th, 2019
Chinese government shines light on subnational units that are making it difficult for foreign direct investment (FDI). China lubricating way for foreign energy giants to enter its petrochemical sector. Beijing is drafting rules to identify a list of BRI projects officially acknowledged by the Chinese government. China’s expansion in Latin America via the BRI raises US anxieties. British officials and senior labor union members will travel to Japan to press Honda to review its decision to shut down its United Kingdom (UK) Swindon plant. Toshiba experiencing delays in securing approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to sell its liquefied natural gas (LNG) business to a Chinese company. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) risks bid to become long-term maintenance service provider of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation’s (ENEC) Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant because of its unilateral decision to replace plant’s workforce. Responding to a Saudi Arabian Cabinet member’s interview reporting “‘advanced’” talks, Hyundai Motor denied plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia.
April 1st, 2019
Senior Chinese official touts that China will take a slew of measures to welcome more inward foreign direct investment (FDI). In conjunction with its talks with Washington, Beijing will accommodate some of the United States (US)’ demands to expand its financial market opening. Due to Beijing’s new round of liberalizing reforms, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell said his company plans to expand its presence in China in the upstream and petrochemical manufacturing sectors. Brazil backs away from its criticisms of China in order to attract much needed Chinese FDI.
March 26th, 2019
According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first two months of 2019 grew 5.5 percent year-over-year (YOY). China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) makes it easier for foreign companies to manage their foreign exchange. Italy may open four ports to Chinese FDI as part of its participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Germany to establish state-owned fund to protect key companies from takeovers by foreign companies, especially Chinese ones. Koreans forced to work for Japanese corporations without compensation during World War II are rushing to file lawsuits before the statute of limitations runs out. Toyota announces it will build a new hybrid car in Britain for its Japanese peer Suzuki despite Brexit uncertainties. South Korea’s Gyeonggi Province considers bill requiring schools to put “‘war criminal tags’” on products manufactured by Japanese firms. South Korea’s S-Oil and Hyundai Oilbank will pay USD $127 million in fines to the United States (US) Justice Department for fixing fuel prices at US military bases in Korea.
March 18th, 2019
China’s National People’s Congress approves new foreign investment law obliging officials to protect commercially confidential information obtained from foreign companies. European Union (EU) releases policy paper in which the EU threatens to tighten rules on Chinese investment in Europe, partly in response to Chinese restrictions on EU investment in China. Top United States (US) general Joseph Dunford expresses concern that Google’s work in China directly benefits Chinese military. In response to increasing global criticism of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing calls for American and European firms to join President Xi Jinping’s signature initiative. Toyota Motor now plans to invest $3 billion more than originally planned in the US to avoid increased tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will cease production of two more models at its Sunderland plant due to uncertainties flowing from Brexit. Lotte Group will leave China after failing to recover from the boycotts caused by Beijing’s diplomatic bickering with Seoul over the latter’s deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system. Seoul and Tokyo fail to resolve their frictions flowing from the legal dispute over wartime labor compensation, with Tokyo warning of economic retaliation if Seoul goes ahead with the seizures of Japanese company assets.
March 10th, 2019
China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) to consider new draft law on foreign direct investment (FDI) that seeks to provide stronger legal guarantees to overseas investors. About 1/3rd of North American-based corporations on the CNBC Global CFO Council say Chinese companies have stolen their intellectual property (IP) at some point in the past ten years. Mirroring global trends, Chinese FDI in Europe fell drastically in 2018 and a recent survey suggests the European Union (EU)’s new investment screening framework likely will curb Chinese EU mergers and acquisitions even more. Italian economic development ministry official announces Italy is planning to join China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Faced with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.’s refusal to negotiate, South Korean plaintiffs who won a wartime forced labor case against the company file court request to seize the company’s assets. Toyota Motor Corp. announced last week it may pull out of production in Britain due to the likely increase of tariffs in the case of a no-deal Brexit. Hyundai Motor is considering suspending operations at its Beijing manufacturing plant partly due to plummeting sales and partly due to budding opportunities elsewhere. South Korea’s Ministry of Economy and Finance reports Korea’s OFDI reached a record high in 2018 partly due to Korean companies going abroad to enjoy a better manufacturing environment.
March 4th, 2019
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announces China will keep improving the legal and market environments for foreign investors. United States (US) President Donald Trump recently announced the US has made substantial progress in talks with Beijing on improving its IP protection. American Chamber of Commerce in China survey indicates some positive views about China’s progress in protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), though concerns about profitability and the future are rising. Following the European Parliament’s approval of a mechanism to control foreign investment in strategic sectors, Chinese official calls upon the EU to adopt an open and inclusive attitude towards foreign companies. Per JETRO survey, Japanese parts suppliers in China hit worse by US-China trade frictions than other Japanese firms there. British business secretary will travel to Japan to ask Honda Motors to reconsider its recent decision to shut down Swindon car plant. Abu Dhabi National Oil Company awards South Korea Engineering and Construction contract for USD $1.2 billion underground oil project. South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service will tighten monitoring of foreign firms’ unfair trading practices.
February 27th, 2019
Shanghai municipal government investment measures appear to have enabled the city to maintain strong foreign investment growth despite a challenging environment. BIStel says it will expand its investment in China despite the China-United States trade war because China is its biggest target market. Saudi Arabia’s Aramco signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for investment in major refining and petrochemical investments in Liaoning that may substantially boost energy exports to China. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Chinese non-financial outbound FDI in 47 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) increased 8.1 percent year-over-year. Despite uncertainties over Brexit, Chinese companies remain interested in investing in the United Kingdom. Tokyo considers backing Russia’s Novatek’s Arctic liquefied natural gas project in the hopes of bolstering Japan’s negotiating position in territorial talks with Moscow. An increasing number of Japanese automakers are leaving or reconsidering their position in the UK as Brexit fast approaches. Seoul expects the second US-North Korea summit to facilitate inter-Korean investment projects including a Korea peninsula rail link. India and South Korea agreed to enhance cooperation in diverse economic areas, including many pertaining to investment.
February 22nd, 2019
Per China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows in January increased 4.8 percent versus the prior period in 2018. Despite United States (US)-China trade dispute, in January, China’s IFDI from the US increased 126.8 percent compared to the same period in 2018. European Parliament revamps European Union (EU) investment screening mechanism to give European Commission power to review deals, though ultimate decision making remains with EU states. U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission highlights personal and national security risks from Chinese investors taking stakes in American biotech companies. Israel will create an interagency body to oversee sensitive commercial deals partly to ensure foreign investments, above all by China, do not damage its ties with the US. Japanese and South Korean businesses fret about the impact of heightened tensions between the two governments relating to history and recent naval encounters. Per reports, following Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s visit to Tokyo last year, major Japanese companies invested hundreds of millions in Malaysia. Russia will take more steps to support Koreans firms doing business in Russia’s Far East. South Korea and Austria move to expand cooperation as Austria seeks Korean help to become a 5G leader in Europe.
February 3rd, 2019
A German Chamber of Commerce in China (AHK) survey makes clear German companies are concerned by China’s slow progress in resolving persistent problems facing foreign direct investment (FDI). European Commission considering taking action to prevent EU businesses from using 5G mobile networks provided by any country or company suspected of using its equipment for spying or sabotage. In 2018, Chinese firms were the biggest buyers of overseas mining assets, especially minerals needed for clean energy technologies and electric car batteries. French President Emmanuel Macron tells Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe he is worried about Carlos Ghosn’s jail conditions and suggests Tokyo intervene in the selection of Nissan’s new chairman. Japanese lawmakers call for Japanese government to take a stronger stance against South Korea on historical disputes pertaining to Japanese companies. Seoul will focus on attracting foreign companies with high-end technologies by offering better incentives and fewer regulations. Rising trade barriers and a poor local economic situation are pushing an increasing number of Korean manufacturers abroad.