This seminar is part of the "Europe and the Global Economy" series.
Virtually non-existent five years ago, Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Europe has surged spectacularly in recent years in an international context of declining FDI globally. While the stock of Chinese investment in Europe is still minuscule, the flows show an explosion in the interest of Chinese companies in being present in Europe, both through greenfield investment and through mergers and acquisitions. This surge occurred concomitantly to the explosion of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the general economic downturn in many countries of the European Union (EU). This paper asks how the European crisis contributed to the surge of Chinese FDI in Europe. In particular, did this surge occur as a result of an explicit strategy formulated by governments in EU Member States in order to dig their countries out of the crisis? The main argument is that the crisis has provided Chinese investors with two types of bargains: economic bargains due to depressed prices and a greater number of assets for sale, and political bargains due to the lessened political resistance to deals that may have been objectionable in flusher times.
Sophie Meunier is Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and Co-Director of the EU Program at Princeton. She is the author of Trading Voices: The European Union in International Commercial Negotiations (Princeton University Press, 2005) and co-author of The French Challenge: Adapting to Globalization (with Philip Gordon, Brookings Institution Press, 2001), winner of the 2002 France-Ameriques book award. She is also the editor of several books on Europe and globalization. Her current work deals with the politics of hosting Chinese investment in Europe. Meunier contributes regularly to the French and American media. She is Chevalier des Palmes Academiques.
Co-sponsored by the the Stanford China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center