Euro groups eye stakes in lo­cal firms

Some voice con­cerns that mar­ket-ori­ented re­forms are needed

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - Jing Shuiyu con­trib­uted to this story.

Euro­pean busi­ness­men are con­sid­er­ing buy­ing stakes in more Chi­nese pri­vate com­pa­nies and are call­ing for the nec­es­sary mar­ket-ori­ented re­forms.

Some Euro­pean com­pa­nies are show­ing in­ter­est in buy­ing full con­trol of or tak­ing a stake in pri­vately-owned com­pa­nies, for ex­am­ple, in the au­toparts and ser­vice sta­tion busi­ness, Jo­erg Wut­tke, pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Union Cham­ber of Com­merce in China, said on Thurs­day.

The Euro­pean Cham­ber, how­ever, is con­cerned that the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) ap­pears to carve out a larger role for govern­ment in guid­ing China’s econ­omy, which might restrict Euro­pean busi­ness from in­vest­ing in China.

Zhou Mi, a se­nior re­search fel­low at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of International Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion, said the con­cern was un­nec­es­sary.

“The mar­ket plays a de­ci­sive role in Chi­nese eco­nomic growth. The 13th Five-Year Plan em­pha­sizes the coun­try’s sharable and co­or­di­nated de­vel­op­ment, which aims to en­sure each party’s ben­e­fit,” Zhou said. “The fact that we value the guid­ance from govern­ment, es­pe­cially dur­ing the re­form­ing pe­riod, does not mean mar­ket forces would be less­ened.”

To fur­ther pro­mote bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and the EU, ac­cord­ing to Zhou, the two sides should make ef­forts to fi­nal­ize the bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaty, re­move in­for­ma­tion bar­ri­ers, and seek more part­ner­ships at lo­cal lev­els.

In mid-July, govern­ment of­fi­cials from both sides agreed to ac­cel­er­ate the progress of the EU-China Com­pre­hen­sive Agree­ment on In­vest­ment, try­ing to con­firm core is­sues and main pro­vi­sions by the end of this year, on the 30th Ses­sion of China-EU Trade & Eco­nomic Joint Com­mit­tee, re­ported Eco­nomic In­for­ma­tion Daily.

Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween China and the EU was $564.85 bil­lion last year, data from the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms showed.

Out­bound di­rect in­vest­ment by State-owned en­ter­prises and pri­vately owned com­pa­nies from China to the EU ex­ceeded $23 bil­lion last year, a record, ac­cord­ing to data from the China Coun­cil for the Pro­mo­tion of International Trade.

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