China turns wary about its in­vest­ing in Amer­ica

Orlando Sentinel - - Business - By Paul Wise­man

WASH­ING­TON — China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in the United States fell last year to its low­est level since the Great Re­ces­sion, even be­fore the coro­n­avirus pan­demic shut down much of global com­merce.

The de­cline in Bei­jing’s in­vest­ment in the United States re­flected ten­sions be­tween the world’s two big­gest economies and Chi­nese gov­ern­ment re­stric­tions on over­seas in­vest­ment.

A re­port out Mon­day from the Na­tional Com­mit­tee on U.S.-China Re­la­tions and the Rhodium Group con­sul­tancy found that China’s di­rect in­vest­ment in the U.S. dropped from $5.4 bil­lion in 2018 to $5 bil­lion last year, the low­est level since the re­ces­sion year of 2009.

Di­rect in­vest­ment in­cludes merg­ers, ac­qui­si­tions and in­vest­ments in things like of­fices and fac­to­ries but not fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments like pur­chases of stocks and bonds.

The re­port found that Chi­nese di­rect in­vest­ment in the U.S. vir­tu­ally van­ished — to $200 mil­lion — from Jan­uary to March this year as the coro­n­avirus pan­demic ham­mered the world econ­omy

U.S. in­vest­ment in China ticked up last year — to $14 bil­lion from $13 bil­lion in 2018. But that in­crease largely re­flected pre­vi­ously an­nounced projects, in­clud­ing Tesla’s fac­tory in Shang­hai.

Two-way in­vest­ment be­tween the U.S. and China fell to a seven-year low, the re­port found.

U.S. reg­u­la­tors, wor­ried that China will gain ac­cess to sen­si­tive tech­nol­ogy, have been tak­ing a harder look at Chi­nese in­vest­ment, a shift man­dated by a 2018 law.

The two coun­tries have also sparred over U.S. charges that China uses abu­sive tac­tics, in­clud­ing forc­ing for­eign com­pa­nies to hand over trade se­crets and out­right cy­bertheft, in its ef­fort to sur­pass Amer­i­can tech­no­log­i­cal dom­i­nance.

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