forced labor

MNCs in the News-2019-10-25

China’s draft implementing foreign direct investment (FDI) law regulations draw generally positive comments from key foreign industry associations. Senior China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) official touts his country’s progress in enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). Senior United States (US) senators ask for review of TikTok for potential counterintelligence risks as well as censorship. Tanzania revamps terms of USD $10 billion Bagamoyo port project for China Merchants Holdings International. Brexit and slow growth prospects in Japan lead Japan’s Hitachi to pursue opportunities in the US and Thailand. Japan’s Uniqlo pulls commercial airing in Korea that seemed to mock victims of wartime forced labor as well as comfort women. Iraq’s Port Authority awards South Korea’s Daewoo contract for prefabrication yard that is part of its Al Faw new port project. South Korean firms both suffer and gain from US restrictions against Huawei.

MNCs in the News-2019-10-11

China Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman rejects claim that Beijing is forcing American companies to abandon their values. China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has put forth the specific timetable when 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) stakes in brokerages, futures, and fund management companies will be allowed. United States (US) Senator Marco Rubio has sent a letter to the US Department of the Treasury requesting a national security review of China’s Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.’s acquisition of Musical.ly. US sanctions may have driven China National Petroleum Corporation’s dismissal from Iran’s South Pars field Phase 11 project. Japan and South Korea will soon have consultations relating to South Korea’s World Trade Organization case against Japanese export controls. Pressure from international institutions and business considerations are driving Japanese firms to pay more attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues in their Southeast Asian supply chains. Korea witnesses growth in inward FDI for the first time in five quarters, with strength in new industrial sectors. Samsung Electronics contemplate major semiconductor FDI in Xian despite poor macro-political and economic conditions because of needs of Chinese government and customers.

MNCs-2019-10-04

China’s Financial Stability and Development Committee recently emphasized that the country will take further steps to promote “two-way financial opening.” Despite China’s general and targeted efforts to bring in more foreign investors, investors are holding back on investments partly because of China’s capital controls. It appears that Chinese venture capital (VC) flows into the US for 2019 will run even lower than 2015, a particularly abysmal year for VC investment. Iraq has said that it will sign on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Japanese government has submitted a bill to the Diet pursuant to which the threshold for reviewing foreign direct investment (FDI) in sensitive sectors will plunge from 10 to 1 percent. Japan-Korea parliamentary unions work to facilitate the resolution of Japan-Korea economic and political tensions, though their actual influence seems limited. Automobile production by foreign firms in Korea is plunging to post-Great Financial Crisis levels due in part to labor problems. US President Donald Trump tweets for joy about Hyundai Motor Group’s joint venture with Aptiv.

MNCs in the News-2019-09-20

Despite falling global foreign direct investment (FDI), China continues to show strength in attracting inward FDI (IFDI). Shanghai continues to be a magnet not only for IFDI, but also for regional headquarters and research and development facilities. The United States (US) has issued a regulation that will give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States new powers to scrutinize FDI which many believe are directed at China. US Senators send Federal Communications Commission a letter asking it to review the operating licenses of Chinese telecommunications providers in the US. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) pushes Internet companies “to create a system to eliminate fake news and discriminatory postings.” Regarding Korea’s recent filing of a World Trade Organization complaint related to Japanese export controls, Japan has agreed to consultations. Korea FTC to decide if it will accept Apple Korea’s pledge to fix its alleged illegal collection of advertising fees from mobile carriers. Korea Electric Power Corp.’s coal mine development project in New South Wales rejected by Australia’s Independent Evaluation Committee.

MNCs in the News-2019-09-13

Despite the United States (US)-China trade war, renowned economist highlights that US firms continue to remain in China because of the attractiveness of China as well as limits associated with the alternatives. During a meeting with a Japanese business delegation, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang welcomes more Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) in China. Although it decreased compared to 2017, Chinese outward FDI in 2018 was the second highest globally after Japan. China is moving to expand “internet plus healthcare” cooperation with BRI countries generally and BRI countries specifically. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating whether BMW’s Japan subsidiary abused its market power to punish dealers that failed to meet sales quotas. Japan’s trade minister notes South Korea’s filing of a World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint will not affect Japan’s export control measures and that it will decide later if it wants consultations. Korean employer and business groups express worries about government plan to ratify parts of International Labor Organization (ILO) convention which they fear will make Korean labor unions more powerful. Head of LG Chem opines that his company’s lawsuit against SK Innovation in the US does not undermine the national interest.

MNCs in the News-2019-08-23

Exploiting the opening of China’s financial sector, Goldman Sachs moves to increase its ownership stake in its China securities joint venture (JV). The city of Beijing launches a plan to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in VPN services in a trial zone by the end of 2019. Moody’s Investors Service sees the growth of China’s outward FDI slowing or even declining because of increasing global geopolitical and economic risks. To garner Chinese support over the Kashmir issue, Pakistan announces it will set up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority to fast-track Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. Survey shows significant number of polled Japanese firms generally back Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s creation of a stricter export trade regime for goods going to South Korea and feel Japan would prevail in a World Trade Organization case if Seoul filed one. Report shows that Japan became a less important source of materials and components for Korea over the first five months of 2019, though trade deficit patterns remain unchanged. Korean research institute survey reveals many surveyed Korean firms feel Japan’s trade restrictions will affect not just their sales, but also their profits. Korea’s Ministry of the Environment finds Audi Volkswagen Korea and Porsche Korea illegally manipulated vehicle exhaust emissions and penalizes and reports the firms for prosecution.

MNCs in the News-2019-08-16

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced inward foreign direct investment (FDI) over the first seven months of 2019 grew 7.3 percent over the same period last year. The city of Beijing intends to relax controls over FDI in cultural and entertainment businesses. Chinese FDI into Europe has slowed as a result of economic uncertainties and trade frictions. A survey suggests Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia are the top three Asian countries presenting the best opportunities for participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Japanese firms in Hong Kong are becoming cautious given tumultuous situation there. Japan alerts new Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister that talk of renegotiating power purchase agreements raises risks. Korean lawmakers contemplate limiting Korea Investment Corp.’s ability to invest in Japanese companies with ties to wartime forced labor. Korean consumer boycott of Japanese goods and services produces decline in imports of Japanese goods of 14 percent over the same period the prior year.

MNCs in the News-2019-08-01

China has opened the upstream exploration of its oil and natural gas resources by foreign investors by scrapping joint venture (JV) restrictions. In the first half of the year, the top geographic destination for Chinese inward foreign direct investment (FDI) continued to be Jiangsu, which attracted large amounts of inward FDI (FDI) in emerging industries from countries like Great Britain. Cross-border investments between China and the United States (US) totaled $13 billion in the first half of 2019, dropping to a five-year low due to the trade war and other factors. In 2018, Chinese investors poured money into Indian start-ups due to the latter’s more affordable labor market and fast economic growth. Japan’s Cabinet approves removal of South Korea from its so-called white list with Seoul promising retaliation. Fears of a more stringent review process flowing from current tensions lead Hyundai Heavy Industries to delay filing for an antitrust review in regard to its planned takeover of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Seoul organizes information events for Korean companies that might be affected by Tokyo’s decision to remove Korea from its “whitelist,” with Korean firms complaining the initiatives are “‘unhelpful and belated.’” SK Innovation contemplates supplying electric vehicle (EV) battery separators to its Korean competitors because this could aid Korean businesses confronting Japanese export restrictions on EV battery separators.

MNCs in the News-2019-07-26

China’s Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology said the relocation of foreign companies due to the United States (US)-China trade war is “limited and under control.” China opens financial sector to overseas firms while moving to minimize risks confronting the sector. US Senator Joe Manchin raises alarm about 2017 USD $83.7 billion-dollar investment deal in West Virginia. Malaysia and China agree to resume Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) following an agreement to cut the project’s cost by about one-third. Major Japanese firms sign on to 30% Club, a global initiative aiming to put more women in top leadership positions globally. US National Security Advisor John Bolton says US does not intend to mediate Japan-South Korea forced labor and trade conflict. South Korean distributors of Japanese goods in South Korea suffering from boycott. Trade conflicts around the global are driving South Korean chaebol to invest in the US to escape the problems associated with these disputes.

MNCs in the News-2019-07-05

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announces China plans to create a better environment for foreign direct investment (FDI) in China. China’s financial opening leads various foreign investors to move to take control of their China joint ventures (JVs). Chinese outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volume for the first six months of 2019 is the lowest since 2013. During a visit to China, Turkey’s President works to attract Chinese FDI and take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). With the activities of information technology giants gaining increased Japanese government scrutiny, the Japan unit of Facebook joins Keidanren. Japan’s export curbs on semiconductor materials bound for South Korea due to their dispute over forced labor compensation could pressure Samsung and the broader Korean economy. Japanese export controls on high-tech materials and chemicals used in South Korean semiconductor and smartphone manufacturing will stress Korean companies already feeling market and trade pressures. After a gathering between United States (US) President Donald Trump and the heads of major South Korean business groups, some Korean firms stated they would boost their US investments.

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