China faces "invisible impediments" in Europe - CIC

LONDON Tue May 22, 2012 4:09pm EDT

LONDON May 22 (Reuters) - China faces "invisible impediments" to investing in some parts of Europe, with Europeans nervous about allowing it to move into sectors such as nuclear power, a senior official at China's sovereign wealth fund said on Tuesday.

"European companies should treat Chinese companies fairly and equitably - we still feel some invisible impediments to our investments in some of the countries in Europe," Jin Liqun, chairman of the board of supervisors of China Investment Corp (CIC), which manages assets totalling more than $400 billion, told a seminar.

European countries were reluctant to allow investments in sectors such as nuclear power because of concerns about national security, Jin added.

"China will be developing nuclear power stations, cutting carbon emissions, European countries have technology, why shouldn't we work together?"

Jin said China did not feel these barriers to investing in Britain.

CIC bought a minority stake in Britain's Thames Water earlier this year.

CIC has said it is wary about investing in European government bonds but sees investment opportunities in areas such as infrastructure.

Jin said he saw opportunities for investment in Africa and in eastern Europe.

"We are looking at projects in some other African countries (besides South Africa)," he said, in answer to a question.

"Emerging Europe would in my view need capital and technology from our side."

China will set up a special investment fund for eastern and southern European states totalling $500 million, Premier Wen Jiabao said in Warsaw last month.

The euro zone should combine necessary spending cuts with stimulus packages to get out of its difficulties, Jin also said in the speech.

"Spending cuts should be coupled with spending to jumpstart growth."

China will fast-track approvals for infrastructure investment to combat a slowdown in the economy, a state-backed newspaper reported on Tuesday.

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