US-China trade war

MNCs in the News-2019-07-12

Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into China continue to grow, especially in the high-tech sector. Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) official states that Inward FDI (IFDI) is not leaving China en masse and that China will “protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.” Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) to Europe and North America over the first six months of 2019 shows a noticeable decrease over the same period the prior year. Despite a spying incident and Poland’s President saying he was opposed to Chinese OFDI (COFDI) in strategic infrastructure, Poland’s Foreign Minister told visiting Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi Poland is open to COFDI. Korea reacts strongly to Japanese media report in which a senior member of Japan’s Liberal Democratic party charged dual-use chemicals exported to South Korea ended up in the North. Japan is surprised at Seoul’s strong response to it instituting tighter controls on the export of certain chemicals to South Korea and Seoul making the issue a World Trade Organization (WTO) issue. Japan moving towards a formal WTO case regarding Seoul’s provision of subsidies to South Korean shipbuilders. Hyundai Engineering and Construction signs a $2.7 billion contract with Saudi Aramco for two projects relating to a massive oil and gas refining complex.

MNCs in the News-2019-06-28

President Donald Trump’s tough stance on intellectual property rights (IPR) violations seems to be driving China to treat foreign IPR more respectfully. At the Osaka G20 Summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping announces several measures China will undertake to open its market further to foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve IPR protection. This past week witnessed the creation of the Belt and Road Economic Information Partnership (BREIP). Two major BRI projects in Africa end. At the Osaka G20 summit, participating countries embrace Japan’s international principles for quality infrastructure. Japan tells two leading candidates for the British Prime Ministership it does not want a “no deal Brexit.” As part of its downstream growth and diversification strategy, Saudi Aramco and its affiliates have signed a dozen accords with South Korean companies covering sectors areas like shipbuilding, engine manufacturing, and petrochemicals. A consortium involving Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KNHP) and KEPCO Plant Service & Engineering (KPS) signs a five-year maintenance service deal for the Barakah nuclear power plant, but fails to garner responsibilities for maintenance services, nuclear scientists, and engineers.

MNCs in the News-2019-06-21

China Premier Li Keqiang works to lure foreign direct investment (FDI) during the Global CEO Council in Beijing. In 2018, the deal value of European mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in China soared by 856 percent to USD $9.94 billion. European Union (EU)-China talks on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and China’s negative list show better progress than expected. Brazilian Vice President welcomes Chinese FDI in infrastructure as long as it creates jobs and respects Brazilian rules. Around the time of the G-20, French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss issues about the Renault-Nissan alliance with Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. Numerous Japanese corporate subsidiaries in the United States have voiced opposition to Donald Trump’s proposal to slap tariffs of 25 percent on another $300 billion of Chinese products. Tokyo has requested Seoul to establish an arbitration panel consisting of representatives selected by other countries to help deal with their wartime forced labor compensation dispute. Seoul prepared to block a deal that would sell Taihan Electric Wire to a Chinese company because it deems Taihan’s high-voltage cable technologies a “‘national core technology.’”

MNCs in the News-2019-06-07

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports United States (US) tariffs on Chinese goods have not significantly affected the country’s flows of inward foreign direct investment (FDI). MOFCOM announces China will blacklist “unreliable” foreign businesses which violate market rules, take discriminatory measures hurting Chinese business rights and interests, or threaten China’s national security. China’s plan to build a $1.9 billion light-railway system in Kazakhstan has stalled as China Development Bank cuts off funding due to possible corruption problems. China keeps open non-money-making Vietnam-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Park (VCEP) because of VCEP’s contribution to better image of Chinese FDI. Japanese and other multinational corporations call for more standardized and clearer rules and greater freedom for data transfer and storage. Airbnb experiences revival in Japan after new regulations caused tens of thousands of listers to check-out. Recent arrests of several Samsung Electronics senior executives for an alleged accounting fraud may distract Samsung from taking advantage of the woes of major competitor Huawei. In light of its recent retreat from overseas ventures, Korea National Oil Corp.’s announcement it planned to invest roughly USD $253 million in the UAE in an oil development project has caused controversy.

MNCs in the News-2019-05-31

Foreign direct investment (FDI) and domestic firms, lured by, respectively, China’s consumer stimulus and attractive valuations may mitigate the adverse effects of the US-China trade war on China. The trade war and new regulatory environment is driving Fosun to limit its investments in United States (US) biotech companies and to turn its attention to emerging markets. Namibia amenable to China National Uranium Corporation taking over the world’s longest-running open pit uranium mine provided it respects Namibian employment laws. Japan tightens restrictions on FDI in its high-tech sectors. Japan’s Inpex Corp. strikes USD $20 billion framework deal with Indonesia to develop an onshore liquefied natural gas facility. Large Korean companies remain on the sidelines in the wake of the US’s action to limit the supply of parts to China’s Huawei. To protect their interests in China, Korean firms are courting Chinese party leaders, forming joint ventures, and investing billions of dollars in Chinese high-tech sectors.

MNCs in the News-2019-05-17

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the growth rate of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) from the United States (US) into China over the first four months of 2019 dropped noticeably year-over-year (YOY). Beijing moves to tighten controls over technologies such as cloud computing, big data, and industrial security systems to bolster national information security. Expansion of American tariffs on Chinese goods drives more companies out of China. US Commerce Department’s proposed ban on hardware and service exports to Huawei could severely affect the firm and its American suppliers. Japanese companies working to use more foreign directors to enhance corporate governance and benefit from new thinking. Japan’s Toyota expresses dismay at US President Trump’s statement that “the US needs to defend itself against foreign cars and components.” FDI flows into South Korea for the first quarter of 2019 plummet YOY with some attributing it to the end of tax breaks. Hoping to position itself for the time when subsides for new energy vehicles (NEV) end, South Korea’s SK Innovation plans to open a second battery factory in China.

MNCs in the News-2019-05-10

The ongoing China-United States (US) trade war coupled with other economic and political factors drives more firms to consider other locations besides China. China moves to take more steps to protect intellectual property (IP), partly to assuage the concerns of foreign investors. China poured record amounts of investment into US start-ups last year despite Sino-American tensions, but there are dark clouds on the horizon especially in regard to investment screening. Security and other concerns lead US Federal Communications Commission hangs up on China Mobile’s effort to operate and offer service in the US. Not a single European country has joined Washington’s call to boycott China’s Huawei. Japanese banks move to improve their anti-money laundering and terrorist financing practices so as to increase chances of good Financial Action Task Force review. Japanese foreign direct investment in the US surges for political and economic reasons, with some “red states” seemingly benefiting from the former. Seoul police investigate if BMW Korea’s Chairman covered up automobile defects. Lotte Chemical launches USD $3.1 billion ethylene cracker complex in Louisiana with strong political support from Korea and the US.

MNCs in the News-2019-04-12

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

MNCs in the News-2019-04-05

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.

MNCs in the News-2019-03-29

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.

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