BEIJING – China’s non-financial foreign direct investment in the United States fell around 20 percent during the first half of 2019, the Chinese commerce ministry said on Thursday.
Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng attributed the decline to the US stepping up its review of investment by Chinese companies over national security concerns.
The spokesperson in a press conference accused Washington of deliberately expanding the scope of its reviews and thereby restricting investment by Chinese companies in the US.
According to Gao, the excessive use of the national security reviews had led to increased uncertainty and instability in the investment environment in the US that is seriously affecting investor confidence in the country.
Gao recalled the US repeatedly indicating that it welcomes Chinese investment, and expressed hope that those intentions do not remain mere words given that the investment by China is equal to that of other countries.
The spokesperson also urged the US to treat Chinese investors fairly and in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination, to improve transparency of its security reviews and create a good, stable and predictable investment environment.
During the press conference, Gao was asked if Chinese companies had resumed the purchase of US agricultural products, one of the main complaints by US President Donald Trump’s administration in the trade dispute that the two countries have been locked in since March 2018.
In response, Gao said there was a huge demand potential for high quality agricultural products in China, and that some Chinese companies wanted to continue importing US agricultural products, for which discussions have already taken place and contracts signed in accordance with market laws.
However, this has no direct bearing on the two sides resuming trade talks, Gao added.
The remarks come as US negotiators were expected travel to Shanghai for a new round of talks to be held July 30-31.
This will be the first face-to-face encounter between the two sides since Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed to resume trade talks after the negotiations collapsed in May.