Working Group I (Strategic sectors and infrastructure development) organized a thematic workshop titled “Chinese investment in Europe: Entering an uncharted territory?” on 14th December 2020, 10.00 (CET). The Zoom-event was co-organized by the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (CERS), Hungary and University College Cork, Ireland.
Agnes Szunomar, the head of WG I (Senior Research Fellow, Head of Research Group on Development Economics, IWE CERS and Associate professor, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary) emphasized in her opening speech that the majority of events focusing on Chinese FDI in Europe cover investment into high-tech industries, IT and electronics, while sectors such as agriculture, food or health are barely covered.
First, Bas Hooijmaaijers (Assistant Professor and Chenhui Research Fellow, School of Advanced International and Area Studies, East China Normal University and Research Fellow, Leuven International and European Studies Institute, KU Leuven) talked about the thematic framework he developed in his presentation titled “Unpacking EU policy-making towards China: Perspectives on the EU foreign investment screening mechanism”. The next three speakers focused on various sectors and cases where Chinese interest is growing. Niall Duggan (Department of Government and Politics, University College Cork, Ireland, also co-leader of WG1) gave a broader picture of Chinese activities in European agriculture and food industry in his presentation titled “Feeding China? The Politics of Chinese investment in the European Agriculture and Food Sector”. Eva Sternfeld (Advisor Science Dialogue and S&T Platform, Sino-German Agricultural Center (DCZ), Beijing, China) talked about the Chinese-German case in this field in her presentation “Sino-German cooperation in the Agriculture and Food Sector”. Finally, Anabela Santiago (PhD student of Public Policies, Social, Political and Territorial Sciences Department, University of Aveiro, Portugal) presented about “Chinese investment into the European health sector”, including Chinese traditional medicine.
The presentations were followed by a joint discussion, where participants from the audience as well as the speakers contributed to the discussion. Questions and comments related to many aspects of the topic, ranging from the European perception of these type of investments (for example, of the agricultural land purchasing of Chinese companies in Europe) to the ownership (state or privately owned) of the Chinese investing companies.