Google threatened to leave China, Goldman Sachs is having its own affair with a state-owned company and the European Chamber of Commerce in China challenged in September the country’s trade barriers. Is protectionism rising in China, wonders Shaun Rein in his latest column in Forbes. While acknowledging some of the problems, Rein asks for a reality check:
Is the situation really that bad? Overall, China’s economy remains fairly open for most sectors. The government fears that a trade war could collapse the export sector and is going out of its way to be more open. Consider its subdued response to Google, and its statement that it won’t let the issue hurt bilateral trade and relations. There are places where the government encourages investment and places where it doesn’t. The reality is that you need to know which is which, for foreign firms will continue to be boxed out of certain industries like media that the government considers sensitive and where well-connected elites dominate….
So worries of increasing protectionism are largely unfounded. But is the dominance of state-owned enterprises starting to return? After all, the government has been pushing for consolidation in the steel, mining and dairy sectors. But that fear, too, is largely exaggerated.
And in case you have not seen enough of Shaun Rein: here at CNBC he explains why Chinese capital is expected to move into real estate in the US and Dubai, later this year.