China warns against 'politicizing' M&As

Updated 2017-06-15 09:24:38 Global Times/Agencies

U.S. might restrict Chinese investments to protect sensitive tech: report

China on Wednesday warned against politicizing mergers and acquisitions following a report that the U.S. might restrict Chinese investments to protect sensitive technologies.

"We believe there should not be undue political dimensions imposed on commercial takeovers, let alone political intervention," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said at a press conference Wednesday.

In principle, normal business takeovers shall follow business rules and the laws of the market, Lu added.

Lu's remarks come after Reuters reported that the U.S. is likely to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investments, that some technologies, such as those in the artificial intelligence field, are allegedly used by China to power its military capabilities or strategic industries.

The move was made to better shield sensitive technologies seen as vital to U.S. national security, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing U.S. officials.

Of particular concern is China's interest in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which have increasingly attracted Chinese capital, the report said.

The report added that the U.S. government is now looking to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

CFIU.S. is headed by the U.S. Treasury Department and includes nine permanent members, including representatives from the departments of defense, justice, homeland security, commerce, state and energy.

An unreleased Pentagon report also warns that China is skirting U.S. oversight and gaining access to sensitive technology through transactions that currently do not trigger CFIUS review. Such deals would include joint ventures, minority stakes and early-stage investments in start-ups, Reuters reported.

The information was not confirmed by China.

"The economic and trade cooperation between China and the U.S. is in nature for win-win results," said Lu.

"We also hope that the U.S. side can provide a sound environment for Chinese enterprises to invest and start business in the U.S."

Already on a steep growth trajectory for the past five years, Chinese investments in the U.S. jumped to billion last year, a 200-percent increase from the previous record of billion in 2015, according to a report published in April by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Rhodium Group, a New York-based economic research firm.

By the end of last year, about 3,200 Chinese-owned companies operated in the U.S. across 98 percent congressional districts and employed more than 140,000 Americans, more than nine times higher than 2009, according to the report.

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