Chinese Investment in Europe: Threat or Opportunity? Neither or Both?

Asian Unit 01 Dec 2017
On 16 July 2917, Mr Plamen Tonchev, Head of Asia Unit at IIER, gave a talk to an international audience at the Olympia Summer School (OSA) in Nafplio, Greece.
The topic of his lecture was:

Chinese Investment in Europe: Threat or Opportunity? Neither or Both?”



Two excerpts from his talk:

Why talk about Chinese investment in Europe?

Well, because it’s the talk of the town and because it’s growing rapidly. And also because Europeans are becoming increasingly suspicious about Chinese investment in Europe. Until recently, China used to be the destination for European (as well as American) investment capital. However, Europeans are growing worried about a wave of corporate takeovers in Europe by state-run Chinese firms and are concerned about increasingly limited access to China’s market. If China retains the same growth rate of its outward investment to Europe, by the end of 2017 the volume of Chinese FDI is likely to outpace respective EU investment in China. So, is Chinese investment in Europe an opportunity or threat? Neither or both? I tend to say “both”. But I’m also tempted to quote the title of the movie “Fifty shades of grey”. 


As regards the strategic EU-China partnership, there is a delicate balance to be struck between growing – and inevitable – interdependence on the one hand, and preserving a reasonable degree of sovereignty and decision-making capacity on the other hand. Moreover, the EU and China do share a common understanding on key issues, such as globalisation, climate change, etc. – issues that are becoming even more prominent with an isolationist Trump in the White House. 

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