Belt and Road

Businesses and the Risk of Taking Stock in the Infrastructure Alphabet Soup Game

At the recent Group of Seven (G-7) meeting in Germany, the attending countries put forth the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment” (PGII), which is a revised version of the Build Better Back World (B3W) scheme that was launched at last year’s G-7 meeting. While there was never any concrete figure attributed to B3W, the United States (US) touted B3W would catalyze “hundreds of billions of dollars of infrastructure investment” for developing countries.

MNCs in the News-2020 August

On October 1, China will establish a new compliant mechanism that, among other things, will allow foreign business associations to raise concerns about the investment environment. China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has given permission for a second foreign asset management joint venture (JV), involving BlackRock and Temasek. Looking to exploit China’s financial sector opening, JPMorgan will spend a huge amount of money to take full control of its China mutual fund JV. Foreign pharmaceutical companies fail to win public hospital bulk medicine purchase contracts in China due to an apparent unwillingness to cut prices to near zero. China based firms such as Foxconn reportedly looking at expanding their presence outside China in countries such as Mexico due to troubled political economic environment. Sino-Indian tensions drive Alibaba to suspend plans for new investments in India. US backlists 24 Chinese firms because of their role in the building of South China Sea artificial islands. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in Belt and Road countries jumps nearly 29 percent for the first seven months of 2020 year-over-year. Japan will move to improve administrative procedures, such as allowing English paperwork, to draw in more FDI and improve Japan’s prominence as a financial center. Japan is considering tax and other measures to enhance Japan’s role as an international financial center. A Japanese ruling party official raises concerns about TikTok with respect to data privacy and national security. Japan, Australia, and India are discussing a supply chain resilience initiative. South Korean regulators are watching what the US, Japan, and India do vis-à-vis TikTok before they decide how to address relevant data privacy and national security concerns. India’s exclusion of Chinese telecommunications players like Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network may create openings for Korean players.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Small Waves Precede Tidal Waves: American Sanctions on Chinese Companies involved in South China Sea Island Building and their Larger Ramifications

The United States (US) Department of Commerce recently blacklisted two dozen Chinese firms which it said, “played a ‘role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.’” Companies listed included Guangzhou Haige Communications Group, China Shipbuilding Group, and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC). The US State Department later accused CCCC and its subsidiaries of “‘corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction and other abuses.’”

MNCs in the News-2019-10-18

At a State Council meeting, China promised more action to eliminate restrictive policies on foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s State Council announced new measures to expand the opening of its financial sector to foreign banks and insurers. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reported that China’s non-financial outward FDI grew 3.8 percent for the 1st three quarters of 2019 year-over-year (YOY), a slight improvement over the prior YOY period. Per a high ranking Cambodian official, for the period 2016 to August 2019 China was his country’s largest investor, with the Belt and Road facilitating this. Japan may exempt asset management companies, including hedge funds, from its new FDI review regime. A no-deal Brexit might significantly impair the value of Nissan’s FDI in the United Kingdom (UK). Strikes at GM Korea and other issues have dented Korea’s exports. Doosan Group’s move to transfer its data storage and protection system to Amazon Web Services raises concerns about development of local cloud computing sector.

MNCs in the News-2019-09-27

At an event in the United States (US), Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed China’s opening, the value of its new foreign investment law, and its improving negative list. Chinese analysts criticized a European Chamber of Commerce in China report for blaming the woes of European firms in China on China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) rather than the highly competitive business environment in China. The joint investment fund between China’s China Investment Corporation and US bank Goldman Sachs has only recently made its first investment due to problematic the problematic political environment. China Power International Holdings concludes memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Norway’s SOE energy producer Equinor for cooperation in renewable energy. Japan concludes MoU with European Union calling for cooperation on infrastructure, transport, and digital project and the need for projects to be environmentally and fiscally sustainable. Japan and Indonesia sign a deal for a more than USD $4.2 billion medium speed train project which is partially politically motivated. Korea’s trade war with Japan is fueling the development of domestic supply chains and the reshoring of Korean firms. Concurrent with Korean President Moon Jae-In’s visit to the US many Korean companies announced their investments in the US.

MNCs in the news-2019-05-03

Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into China shows decent growth in the first quarter of 2019 with United States (US) FDI showing particularly strong growth. China announces moves to open its banking and financial sectors further. The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s strategic location allows it to snare USD $3.4 billion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) deals. Cambodia throws the dice for more China FDI deals while shifting further away from the European Union (EU). Japan ponders proposing rules to increase transparency and responsible financing for infrastructure investment in developing countries during the upcoming Group of 20 (G-20) summit. Lawyers representing South Koreans forced to labor for Japanese corporations during World War II requested a court to sell assets seized from relevant Japanese firms. South Korea Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon lobbies Kuwait to allow more South Korean companies to participate in infrastructure project in the country.

MNCs in the News-2018-07-20

BMW and Tesla roll forward in China as government paves the road to greater ownership stakes. Foreign financial institutions banking on increasing role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Cambodia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries opined that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in Cambodia’s agricultural sector was bearing substantial fruit for his country. Sumitomo hopes to use agreements with Japanese local government to entice Japanese manufacturers to use rental plant areas at its Vietnamese industrial parks. Takeda optimistic about getting China’s sign-off for USD $62 billion Shire acquisition deal despite concerns of Chinese retaliation over US tariffs. LG Chem plans new battery plant in Nanjing to take advantage of the Chinese government’s electric car incentives, which are expected to disappear by 2020. New investment wave expected to hit Vietnam’s textile and garment industry boosted by Vietnam-South Korea FTA.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Multinational Corporations and Industrial Parks, High-Tech Zones, and Special Economic Zones: Hitting it out of versus zoning out in the Park

Countries around the world are aggressively constructing industrial parks (“Parks”), high-tech zones (HTZs), and special economic zones (SEZs). They hope incentives such as free or discounted land, lower taxes, and lighter regulation coupled with improved infrastructure, better trade opportunities, and high-quality administration will yield multiple benefits. These include increasing the amount of foreign capital they obtain, facilitating entry into global production chains, and upgrading their scientific capabilities.

MNCs in the News-2018-02-23

China to use mechanism of internationalization including inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in mixed ownership reform to enhance ability of state-owned enterprises. For 2018, Guizhou aims for $150 billion in investment money from outside the province including small and medium-sized enterprises from foreign countries. Chinese outward FDI in January 2018 jumps over same period a year earlier. Chinese government constraints on outward FDI become even tighter. Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata receives US court approval for its bankruptcy exit plan. Japanese steelmaker JFE Holdings concerned Trump's protectionist rhetoric could impede own investment plans to build US based plant. Korea Expressway Corporation signs MoU for Indian highway construction following agreement between Korean and Indian government to support USD $10 billion in Indian infrastructure. GM proposes investing USD $2.8 billion in its Korean operations, but calls for government assistance to maintain its remaining plants. Russian diversified energy holding company Inter Rao seeking to develop Indonesia's Bandar Kayangan Global Hub. Finance Minister says Indonesia to revise tax incentives to attract more investment. Thailand's government approaches Japanese robotics maker and other engineering manufacturers to build facilities along its EEC. Manila Water Company acquires 18.72 percent stake in Thailand's Eastern Water to enter Thailand's EEC. Thailand's Superblock Pcl plans to invest USD $1.76 billion to build wind farms in Vietnam in sync with Hanoi's renewables policy.

MNCs in the News-2017-07-14

Chinese inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in June shows slow growth year-over-year (YOY) while the first half of 2017 showed a very slight decline in inward FDI (IFDI) YOY. Twenty percent of American firms in Shanghai plan to redirect their investment elsewhere. China’s non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) over the first six months of 2017 YOY plummets due to capital controls, tight loan supervision, and overseas factors. Almost a dozen members of American Congress ask US Securities and Exchange Commission to block Chinese-led consortium from buying Chicago Stock Exchange. At a recent conference, Chinese officials tout dramatic future growth in Chinese OFDI and moneys supplied for One Belt, One Road projects. Japan External Trade Organization and India’s provincial governments increase investment cooperation for special industrial zones to meet expansion needs of Japanese firms. Toshiba still negotiating with bidders, as company strives to fulfill government demand to keep chip technology under domestic ownership. SK Group moving to aggressively increase relations with Chinese officials. China considers investment to connect Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor with Kunming's special economic zone. Malaysian financier central figure in probes related to plundered Malaysian state development fund 1Malaysian Development Bhd. Vietnamese government gradually opens its transportation and logistics sector, providing investment opportunities for foreign firms.

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