Free Trade Zones

MNCs in the News-2019-12-13

UIBE Institute of International Economy 2019 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) report recommends China do more to enhance the business environment for FDI such as allowing the market to play a greater role in the allocation of resources. Chinese government orders all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer hardware and software by 2022. United States (US) National Defense Authorization Act bans use of federal funds to purchase buses and passenger cars made by Chinese manufacturers, which will hurt BYD’s US operations. Pakistan established new China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) authority to expedite the progress of the initiative. Labor Union at Uber Eats Tokyo cannot stomach the latter’s unilateral decision to lower the base pay of workers. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission suggests too early for Asahi Group to toast its plan to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev’s local Australia operations. South Korea’s reported inward FDI (IFDI) tops USD $20 billion for the fifth consecutive year, though realized IFDI often falls far short of reported figures. Korean consortium HPH Joint Venture may lose multi-billion bid to build metro in Panama due to reported Chinese pressures for a review of the bid award.

MNCs in the News-2018-08-17

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reported that inward foreign direct investment (FDI) over the first seven months of 2018 grew 5.5 percent year-over-year (YOY) with strong growth in inward FDI (IFDI) in high-tech industries. MOFCOM noted that there was major growth in IFDI from countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), South Korea, and Japan over the first seven months of 2018 YOY. Hundreds of Google employees raise concerns internally about the firm’s plans to produce a censored search engine for China. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) takes over Total’s stake in Iran’s South Pars Phase II project as Total must abandon it due to re-imposition of United States (US) sanctions. Japanese regulators investigating Apple over allegations that it unfairly pressured Yahoo Japan to slow the expansion of online games platform. Japan makes economic cooperation with the Indo-Pacific region a diplomatic priority in attempt to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. South Korea places ban on over 20,000 BMWs after more than 30 engines caught fire this year due to faulty hardware. South Korean Prime Minister calls for increased cooperation with Qatar especially in infrastructure projects.

MNCs in the News-2018-07-13

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) says inward foreign direct investment (FDI) was solid for the first six months of 2018 year-over-year. Some observers see China opening to foreign deals because of external pressure as well as slowing inward FDI (IFDI). Merkel praises Chinese market opening moves as a sign of action, not just talk. Shaanxi Ligeance Mineral Resources Co. deal for United Kingdom (UK)’s Northern Aerospace grounded apparently for national security reasons. Japanese regulators mashing Apple over forcing customers to opt for particular product/service plans. Recent report reveals Japan moves up to third in US FDI while overall FDI drops due to US government plans to toughen regulations. Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings to raise stake in top Vietnamese drugmaker DHG Pharmaceutical as Vietnamese authorities approve removal of foreign ownership limit at DHG.Chinese government approves LG Display’s OLED display production facility in Guangzhou. South Korea and Singapore sign two agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral investments and trade by promoting collaboration between companies.

MNCs in the News-2018-07-13

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) says inward foreign direct investment (FDI) was solid for the first six months of 2018 year-over-year. Some observers see China opening to foreign deals because of external pressure as well as slowing inward FDI (IFDI). Merkel praises Chinese market opening moves as a sign of action, not just talk. Shaanxi Ligeance Mineral Resources Co. deal for United Kingdom (UK)’s Northern Aerospace grounded apparently for national security reasons. Japanese regulators mashing Apple over forcing customers to opt for particular product/service plans. Recent report reveals Japan moves up to third in US FDI while overall FDI drops due to US government plans to toughen regulations. Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings to raise stake in top Vietnamese drugmaker DHG Pharmaceutical as Vietnamese authorities approve removal of foreign ownership limit at DHG.Chinese government approves LG Display’s OLED display production facility in Guangzhou. South Korea and Singapore sign two agreements aimed at strengthening bilateral investments and trade by promoting collaboration between companies.

MNCs in the News-2018-06-29

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) unveils new nationwide negative list which opens about 17 more sectors and reduces various restrictions. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and NDRC released a revamped negative list for foreign direct investment (FDI) in China’s free trade zones (FTZs) that has some better features than nationwide negative list. United States apparently to go with enhanced Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review process rather than establish mechanisms that specifically focused on restraining Chinese FDI. Nissan picks Thailand as first export market for new hybrid cars which may lead to local production if results and investment incentives are attractive. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation signs memorandum with Thailand’s governmental agency that the latter hopes will boost FDI. Samsung’s managing leaders recently convened to discuss a growing “China problem” as company confronts various political and regulatory problems. Taiwan’s GlobalWafers intends to follow through on USD $450 million Korean production facility amid increased Sino-US trade tensions. Malaysian government optimistic that investors’ confidence will be restored partly due to Prime Minister Mahathir’ effort to court FDI. Survey reveals Japanese companies interested in setting up manufacturing bases in Malaysia and are looking to invest in new sectors.

MNCs in the News-2018-05-25

China’s State Council moves to spread best practices from China’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) elsewhere in China. Muji hung out again for its improper treatment of the Taiwan issue. In Beijing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns of further potential restrictions on Chinese investment in the absence of reciprocity. Fears of having to disclose details of loans for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) spur Chinese financial institutions to continue to bank on Pakistan. Motivated by forthcoming regulatory changes, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. to buy 37.5 percent stake in state-backed Chinese life insurer. Nissan and Renault reviewing tie-up driven by French Government. Trump’s cancellation of US-North Korea summit dashes hopes of lifting international sanctions against North Korea and jumpstarting inter-Korean projects. South Korean electric battery firms charged up as China Association of Automobile Manufacturers’ whitelist highlights capabilities of Korean batteries. Chinese investors pledge to continue investing in Malaysia given new government offers conducive business environment and political stability. Foreign investors increasingly concerned about Malaysia’s fiscal health as national debt is far higher than previously revealed.

MNCs in the News-2018-01-12

China moving to make Free Trade Zones (FTZs) freer. China punishes Marriott over survey that lists Hong Kong, Macao, and Tibet as independent countries. Apple’s iCloud darkens as it transfers the service to a Chinese company that will operate it and keep all data in China. French Finance Minister welcomes Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in France provided it is not “looting.” President Donald Trump’s pressure seems to have driven Toyota and Mazda to select Alabama for USD $1.6 billion production facility. NEC acquires Northgate Public Services for USD $640 million following the British government’s promotion of digitalization. South Korea’s state-operated Korean Development Bank sets price floor on sale of struggling construction firm Daewoo Engineering & Construction. Hyundai invests in Singapore’s Grab in effort to expand in Southeast Asia and reduce reliance on the tumultuous China market. Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance to reevaluate investment attraction programs after no companies applied in 2017. Jakarta and Freeport-McMoRan seek to resolve by June a host of operational issues that plague the future of Grasberg mine. Nissan shortlists Thailand as possible location for Asia-Pacific EV manufacturing facility due to Thai investment incentives. Thai Minister says Chinese investment into country’s rubber plantations must be carefully considered and not impact local farmers. Johor Sultan invests USD $100 million in Sri Lanka’s first pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. New policy decree by Hanoi allows foreign enterprises to provide logistics services in Vietnam. Several of Vietnam’s efforts to divest state-owned enterprises at the end of 2017 did not catch much investor attention.

MNCs in the News-2017-09-22

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) promises measures to create a better environment for foreign direct investment (FDI). China courts foreign investment in its energy sector to advance its reform initiatives. European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China releases position paper detailing many areas of concern among its members about China’s policies towards inward FDI (IFDI). Chinese expresses concern about possible implications of proposed EU wide investment screening scheme. Toshiba selects consortium to take over its politically contentious USD $21 billion semiconductor business. Prime Minister May visits Japan as Japanese firms become more hesitant about continued investment in Britain due to Brexit’s slow and uncertain progress. Economic and security concerns prompt Korea’s Industry Ministry to review investment plans by South Korean semiconductor and display companies seeking expansion in China. State-owned Korea Electric Corp. represents South Korea in a bid to build Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear energy plant. Indonesia’s demand for steel is expected to rise substantially within the decade, triggering calls to improve investment conditions for steel producers. Foreign investment in Indonesian startups reaches USD $3 billion so far this year with Chinese FDI patterns shaped by government initiatives. New Thai Digital Park proposed, opening new potential vistas for foreign investors. Sumitomo Corporation starts construction third industrial park in Vietnam with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister calling for best possible conditions for investors. With central government support, Hanwha Techwin to open first of three Vietnamese aircraft engine parts factories early next year.

MNCs in the News-2017-08-18

China takes steps/promises measures to draw in more foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s State Council details a slew of initiatives to increase greater inward FDI (IFDI) as well as to foster specific types of IFDI. Donald Trump signs executive order authorizing US Trade Representative to decide whether or not to investigate China’s theft of American intellectual property. China’s Ministry of Commerce reports small drop in IFDI over the first seven months of 2017 year over year (YOY) while outward FDI drops dramatically over the first seven months of 2017 YOY. The Philippines is looking to Japan and China to finance investments in energy and power generation projects worth over USD $135 billion. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to expand operations in Saudi Arabia to support Saudi initiatives to reduce reliance on oil. Kumho Tire Co. to be bought out by its Chinese competitor Qingdao Doublestar Co. for USD $857 million after South Korean state-owned development bank sells its stake to Doublestar. Hyundai to promote Indonesia as Southeast Asian production base because of, among other things, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement will remove car import duties in 2018. Indonesia and Vietnam to boost investment activity following 7th Indonesia-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Science, and Technical Cooperation. Facebook opens full office in Indonesia due to tightening regulations on foreign Internet firms. Recent report touts that Malaysia’s strategic location and competitive position make it attractive for foreign investment. US deepening investigation into money stolen from Malaysian state investment fund allegedly used to obtain around USD $1.7 billion in real estate, jewelry and art.

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.

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