European Union should impose a temporary ban on Chinese takeovers of companies that are currently undervalued or have business problems because of the coronavirus crisis, the leader of the bloc’s largest political alliance said. This is reported by Reuters.
Manfred Weber, a senior German conservative and head of the center-right EPP grouping in the EU Parliament, told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper that he was in favor of declaring a twelve-month ban for Chinese investors who want to buy European firms.
“We have to see that Chinese companies, partly with the support of state funds, are increasingly trying to buy up European companies that are cheap to acquire or that got into economic difficulties due to the coronavirus crisis,” he said.
The European Union, therefore, should react in a coordinated way and put an end to the “Chinese shopping tour” by imposing a twelve-month moratorium on sales of European companies until the coronavirus crisis is hopefully over, Weber said.
“We have to protect ourselves,” he added.
China and the EU launched negotiations on a comprehensive investment agreement in 2013, and have held numerous rounds of talks since then. Sticking points have included reciprocal market access and a level playing field.
The German government agreed last month to tighten rules to protect domestic firms from unwanted takeovers by investors from non-European Union countries.
The move comes at a time when Europe’s biggest economy, and the EU as a whole, are reconsidering relations with China in the face of increased investment in critical sectors by Chinese state-owned enterprises.