According to the deductions of an a European business industry group, with a more politicized business environment between the European Union and China, there is a threat of “arbitrary punishment” for European companies by China.
Concerns over travel restrictions imposed on foreign workers in China because of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the excluding of foreign companies from some of the sectors of the company’s economy were raised in the annual report of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.
“Companies are left navigating a political minefield during a health crisis of truly overwhelming proportions,” chamber president Joerg Wuttke said in comments attached to the report. The report as prepared from inputs derived from working groups, surveys and comments from more than 1,700 members of the business industry group.
European companies doing business in China could be seriously impacted because of the fast deteriorating relations between Europe and Chin over a range of issues in China including the treatment and alleged atrocities of Uighur Muslim minority by Beijing and the imposition of the controversial and sweeping new national security legislation for Hong Kong, warned the report from the European business industry group.
The report further said that European companies now “have even more reason to believe that they could become victims of arbitrary punishment” because of the actions taken by governments of their home countries against China.
The imposition of tariffs of over 80 per cent in barley imported from Australia by Beijing was cited in the report. It noted that this move by China had effectively brought an end to a billion-dollar trade. The report further noted that this action by China is viewed to have been taken in response to increasing political tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
The relationship between China and Australia had soured by allegations against China by Australia that the former was meddling in its domestic affairs. It worsened further after the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent inquiry into the origins of Cvodi-19, which is widely believed to have originated in China and later covered yup and not told by Beijing to the world thereby allowing it to spread and become a pandemic that thee entire world is struggling to contain.
Many European company employees have also been left stranded outside of China because of travel restrictions imposed by China amid the pandemic. The report also said that Chinese officials had ignored discrimination against foreigners.
“Chamber members cannot help wondering if these actions and inactions are indicative of a broader mindset that while foreign capital and technology are desired in China, foreigners themselves are not,” it said.
There is also a continuous effort to block off foreign companies from gaining market share in some such as sectors like banking and insurance by the Chinese because of a significant opening of China’s market with obstacles being created by the Chinese bureaucracy to prevent full entry in such sectors, the report also noted.
“Worryingly, there now seems to be a growing list of sectors that either restrict foreign investment, or in which support is provided to China’s national champions to the extent that it squeezes out any potential European competition,” it said.
(Adapted from FinancialPost.com)