MUNICH, Germany: US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt said on 11 Ferbruary there is a worrying trend towards investment protectionism in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“There have been developments both in the US, Europe and elsewhere recently that suggest a rising tide of investment protectionism,” Kimmitt told reporters on the sidelines of an annual security conference in Munich.
“Given the fact that investment flows swamp trade flows I think that could be very harmful for the world economy and I think it’s very important for us then to continue to espouse open investment policies consistent with our responsibilities to protect national security,” he said.Kimmitt said he would make this point in a speech he will deliver to business leaders in Frankfurt on12 February.
He mentioned two examples in the United States— the failed bid by Dubai Ports World to manage six U.S. ports and a bid by China’s state-controlled CNOOC Ltd. earlier this year to buy American oil company Unocal. CNOOC abandoned the plan after it sparked a heated controversy within the United States.
“We’re having conversations with Congress about a new law reviewing acquisitions in the United States where ... we want very carefully to balance open investment with our national security responsibilities,” Kimmitt said.“We’re open to investment,” he added.
There is also a problem in Europe, where so-called national champions have been protected to the point where acquisitions between European countries have proven difficult, Kimmitt said.“There have been some rumblings coming out of both Russia and China recently about efforts on their parts to take a much closer look at acquisitions in those two countries,” he said.“Our view is that keeping capital flowing freely, keeping investment regimes as open as possible, is a benefit to all of the countries in the global economy,” Kimmitt said.