China Denies Political Intentions Behind Investment in Europe

(Bloomberg) -- China said investments in Europe by the nation’s companies aren’t part of a political strategy, in its first official reaction to new European Union rules on screening of foreign capital.

“Investment is based on business-oriented activities, and the direction of investment depends on factors such as the company’s own advantages and market conditions,” the Mission of China to the European Union said in an emailed response to Bloomberg queries. “There is no such thing as strategic considerations or political intentions.”

Negotiators for EU governments and the European Parliament agreed this week on draft legislation aimed at preventing foreign investments from threatening national security. The move echoes growing unease globally -- most notably in the U.S. -- over Chinese corporate expansion overseas.

The deal comes after 14 months of deliberations over an initiative that for years had been deemed too controversial to take as a result of opposition in the bloc’s national capitals. The EU has said the new rules aren’t meant to discourage foreign investment in Europe and aren’t aimed at any single country outside the bloc.

“China hopes the EU can stick to the basic rules of the World Trade Organization, especially the non-discrimination rule, and steer clear of trade protectionism,” the Mission said. “We are watching that whether the EU is striding toward openness, inclusiveness and multilateralism -- or the reverse.”

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