June 29, 2010 / 3:10 AM / 9 years ago

EU firms wary of unpredictable China rules: survey

BEIJING (Reuters) - European firms remain optimistic about China’s economic growth prospects, but are less confident about the near-term outlook for profits and are very concerned about regulatory unpredictability, according to a survey.

An annual survey of more than 500 European Union companies in China released on Tuesday showed that 78 percent of respondents were optimistic overall about the growth outlook, up from 65 percent last year in the middle of the global crisis.

But only 34 percent of the companies polled by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China expressed optimism about their profitability prospects over the next two years.

One fact dampening sentiment is growing competition from local Chinese firms, according to the survey.

As in the past, the poll found widespread unhappiness among EU firms about regulatory interference and uncertainty.

The vast majority of respondents did not expect regulations for foreign companies to become fairer in the near future.

“The discretionary enforcement of laws and regulations, opaque and burdensome registration processes as well as concerns regarding the protection of intellectual property rights continue to be top concerns for European business in China,” Jacques de Boisseson, the president of the chamber, said in a statement.

“These persisting regulatory challenges temper the attractiveness of China as a long-term investment destination,” he added.

Reporting by Alan Wheatley; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner

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