EU asked to avoid ‘negative signals’
China hopes Germany and the EU will avoid sending confusing and negative signals when introducing new regulations after Germany tightened foreign takeover rules in key sectors, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.
Germany’s Cabinet agreed on Wednesday to tighten scrutiny on company takeovers in strategic industries by buyers outside the EU, becoming the first European Union country to tighten its rules on foreign corporate takeovers.
The new regulations will allow the German government to block takeovers if there is a risk of critical technology being lost overseas. The rules will take effect shortly with no need for parliamentary approval in a bid to protect critical infrastructure, including power grids and hospitals, Reuters reported.
“China is concerned about related moves of Germany and the EU. We hope they are careful and avoid being influenced by the trend of protectionism, and avoid sending confusing and negative signals to the outside,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news conference in Beijing.
In recent years, China’s trade and business links with Germany and the EU have achieved positive results, “which is obvious to all”, he said. They have brought real benefits to the companies and people of both sides, as well as boosting economic development, Geng said.
“Under the current global situation,” he said, “China is willing to work with Germany and the EU to promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation based on the principle of mutual benefit and common development.”
At the same time, Reuters cited sources saying that several German companies in talks with potential buyers from China are still pushing ahead with negotiations, undeterred by the new rules.
Four German firms that sell to vehicle manufacturers — FFT, Eisenmann, ZF Body Controls and Eissmann Automotive — are talking to potential Chinese buyers but do not expect government interference, the report said on Thursday.