Share

Euro groups eye stakes in local firms

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 auto-parts 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.