Despite EU reservations
China seeks allies in Spain and Portugal
Published: 02:11 PM, 28 November 2018 Updated: 02:11 PM, 28 November 2018
China, currently engaged in a trade war with the United States, is seeking to strengthen its ties with Spain and Portugal as other European Union members are trying to restrict Chinese investments.
China’s President Xi Jinping began a three-day visit to Spain on Tuesday on his way to a meeting of Group of 20 leaders in Argentina and will stop in neighboring Portugal on December 4-5 on his return home.
“It’s a political maneuver to maintain ties at a complicated time for China,” Angel Sanchez, the director of the Centre for Global Economy and Geopolitics at Spain’s ESADE Business School, told AFP.
The United States has imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion in Chinese goods in an attempt to pressure the country to reverse alleged unfair trade practices and US President Donald Trump this week warned he might impose tariffs on its remaining $267 billion in imports from the Asian giant, including iPhones made in China.
European member states, meanwhile, are poised to decide on a European framework for assessing foreign investment wanted by EU heavyweights France and Germany in order to screen acquisitions by foreign companies, mainly Chinese, in strategic sectors such as energy.
Paris, Berlin and to a lesser extent Rome is concerned that foreign groups are seeking to pilfer key technologies by buying their companies and have long called for European legislation to filter certain acquisitions.
Now is the time for Chinese leaders to make public statements to try and assuage the concerns of EU member states, said Angel Saz Carranza.
Rajiv Biswas, Asia Pacific chief economist for IHS Markit, added that “even if the EU agrees on some screening process, in the end, it’s still up to each individual country to decide what they want,”
By focusing on Spain and Portugal, China is looking for the “weak underbelly for Chinese investment in Europe and consolidate” the assets already acquired in the two countries despite reservations of other European Union member states, the president of Paris-based think tank Asia Centre, Jean-Francois Di Meglio, told AFP.
“Chinese investments in absolute figures are greater in Britain and in Germany, but as a percentage of GDP, they are greater in Spain and Portugal,” said Di Meglio.
Beijing has since 2016 felt “great doubts” regarding the EU, which teamed up with the United States to deny it market economy status, said, Di Meglio.
Britain’s planned exit from the bloc fuelled its doubts about the bloc and China now favors bilateral ties with European nations, he added.
China, for example, boosted its ports and terminals business network last year with the purchase by Chinese shipping group OSCO Shipping Holdings of a 51 percent stake in Spanish container terminal operator Noatum Port, which operates container ports in Valencia and Bilbao.
No ‘Silk Road’ agreement
Portugal, one of Western Europe’s poorest countries, was especially open to Chinese investment after the 2008 global financial crisis sent its economy into a tailspin.
Chinese investment accounted for 3.6 percent of Portugal’s GDP between 2010 and 2016, the highest level in the EU after Finland, according to ESADE figures.
The Chinese government owns a 28 percent stake in Portuguese utility EDP, the country’s largest firm, Via China Three Gorges and China’s state-owned international investment company CNIC.
Spanish exports to China increased last year by 28 percent to reach 5.7 billion euros ($6.4 billion) and Madrid hopes Xi’s visit will open the Chinese market further for Spanish products such as grapes and its treasured “jamon” cured ham.
But Madrid, however, has said it will not sign on during his visit to China’s ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative that seeks to better link Asia and Europe.
The multi-billion-dollar so-called “Silk Road” initiative, unveiled by Xi in 2013, aims to link the continents through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks.
In Europe, countries such as Poland and Greece have signed but the project has created considerable anxiety that it masks an attempted Beijing influence grab.
Aside from economic issues, Xi wrote in a column published in Spanish daily newspaper ABC that “China will enhance dialogue and communication with Spain in international and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization and the G20.”
- Best exercise for your heart
- Truck carrying aid crosses border: OPPO MP
- Golden jubilee of Bangabandhu title observed
- Palestinians’ pray in long-closed part of Al-Aqsa
- Toxic liquor death stood 102 in Assam
- Sanai’s wedding tunes with ex-Minister
- Venezuela soldiers abandon posts at Colombia border
- PM releases stamp on Bangabandhu title’s golden jubilee
- Fire guilty should be trialed: GM Quader
- Chemical found! Dail 9556014
- Scout for free from militant, drugs: AG Minister
- Snow to strike Britain again freeze!
- Chemical godowns shift starts
- Tobacco use Loss over Tk 30,000 cr per yr
- Our fight is for Kashmir, Not against Kashmiris: Modi
- Vidya on banning Pakistani artistes in India
- 300 vehicles on fire near Bengaluru Air Show
- Mithila again in love!
- Savings Week 2019 begins in Rajshahi
- John Keats recall; Physician to Poet
- Mendis, Fernando carry Sri Lanka to historic win
- Cleanliness crush program in RMCH
- BCL declers Shovon-Rabbani pannel
- Marshall Islands consider radical measures
- NASA’s new DNA for alien search
- Salman Shah`s death report submission date deferred again
- Guaido defies travel ban
- AL nomination meeting today
- Assam toxic liquor death toll mounts to 84
- Mola in ponds improves others` nutritional quality
- All News »
- Pakistan summons Indian envoy to protest `baseless allegations`
- Another spell of gas suspension in Capital Tuesday
- 16 burnt, 50 injured in Churihatta fire
- JnU BCL committee dissolved
- BCL factional clash hurt 45 in JnU
- Daily Bangladesh mourns death in Chawkbazar fire
- 1 killed as tree fall in capital, 7 injured
- Drug trader hurt in Chatmohor gunfight
- Mithun`s fifty takes Bangladesh to 226
- Gas supply shutdown in Dhaka including Savar
- Nation set to pay homage to language martyrs
- Ali, employee of Daily Bangladesh, injured in road crash
- Barcelona, Man City to play tonight
- Japan probe Hayabusa2 makes asteroid landing
- NZ clinch ODI series 2-0 against Tigers
- “’Fagun Haway’ will inspire new generation in patriotism”
- Death toll in Nigeria attack doubles to 130
- Samsung to launch US retail stores in smartphone push
- Prominent poet Al Mahmud dies
- Last tributes to poet Al Mahmud at Bangla Academy
- 1st phase of nomination withdrawal ends today
- General Osmani’s 35th death anniversary today
- Sadhan urges officials to brighten up govt image
- Zulfikar Ali will survive if he got your help
- SERG Zahurul Haque’s death anniversary observed
- No pardon for drug traders: IGP
- India shouldn`t play Pakistan in World Cup: Harbhajan
- Maduro blasts US for ‘stealing’
- Saudi Arabia strikes $10bn China deal
- Shop gutted in Sylhet fire