Domestic companies to see more opportunities in U.S. infrastructure sector: experts

Updated 2016-10-24 11:19:21 Global Times

Chinese investors are likely to see more investment opportunities in the U.S. infrastructure industry, but they should also be cautious about potential investigations, said senior lawyers from leading international law firm Mayer Brown JSM.

Domestic enterprises have increasingly extended their presence in the U.S. market in recent years through investments and mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

In January, Chinese entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group paid .5 billion for a controlling stake in Hollywood film producer Legendary Entertainment.

Home appliance maker Qingdao Haier Co in June signed the closing documents for its acquisition of General Electric Co's appliance unit.

Chinese companies favored investment in such sectors in the U.S. as high technology, medical care, real estate, advanced manufacturing, insurance and energy, Paul W. Theiss, chairman of Mayer Brown, said at a media briefing on Thursday.

From a long-term perspective, the U.S. infrastructure industry will show more investment opportunities, Theiss said, noting that many infrastructure projects in European countries and regions are private, such as airport, port and road projects. But in the U.S., plenty of infrastructure projects are constructed and operated by governments.

As infrastructure projects are also seeing a trend of privatization in the U.S., many investment partners are needed during the process and this is a good opportunity for Chinese investors, he noted.

"The termination of one project was not caused by political issues, and it indicated that the U.S. is in large need of investment in its infrastructure sector and that Chinese firms could directly participate in these projects," said Paul de Bernier, partner of Mayer Brown.

Bernier said that Chinese investors should also focus on environmental protection when seeking business growth in the U.S. market as the issue captures lots of attention from the federal government as well as state governments and communities.

The U.S. welcomes and holds an open attitude toward commercial investment from China, Theiss said, noting that although there are some cases that have been rejected by the U.S. governments or that did not pass an official review, "we should not neglect that many other cases are successful and run smoothly."

"The U.S. government's position on [being open to investment] will not change," said John J. Sullivan, partner of Mayer Brown.

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