Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 16 News List

Germany denies China’s claims of protectionism

BEIJING PROTESTS:Berlin has opened reviews of Chinese takeover offers for semiconductor supplier Aixtron SE and the lamps division of Osram Licht AG


A German deputy economy minister said the country is not drifting toward protectionism, responding to Chinese government calls for Germany to be open to foreign investment.

Germany remains “one of the most open economies in the world,” even as it scrutinizes Chinese takeovers in some technology sectors, German Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Matthias Machnig said on Friday in a Bloomberg TV interview from Hong Kong.

He rejected the notion that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is engaging in “a kind of new protectionism.”

“This is not true,” said Machnig, whose ministry reviews foreign private investment in Germany. “We had, let’s say, 300 companies and mergers and acquisitions from Chinese companies in the last year. Two or three are now discussed because of security reasons or military questions.”

Germany last month opened reviews of Chinese takeover offers for semiconductor supplier Aixtron SE and the general lamps division of Osram Licht AG. German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabriel earlier this year voiced opposition to a purchase of German robot maker Kuka AG by China’s Midea Group Co (美的集團).

Commenting on the Aixtron case, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) on Wednesday said that China hopes Germany can treat Chinese companies’ investment with a rational, objective attitude.

China wants Germany to create a good environment for Chinese investments, Shen said in Beijing.

Chinese companies have announced or completed acquisitions in Germany valued at a record 11.3 billion euros (US$12.59 billion) this year, almost eight times the level of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gabriel was in China this week for talks with government officials.

Machnig said the German team addressed imbalances in the trade relationship between China and the EU, including “huge overcapacities” in areas such as steel production.

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