Interview with Ireland Deputy Prime Minister, Simon Coveney & Foreign investment in China
Local government elections are set to take place in England on 3rd May. 150 council seats are up for grabs. It’s the first nationwide election since Prime Minister Teresa May’s ill-advised attempt to strengthen her party’s position to negotiate Brexit by calling a snap general election. As then, these local elections will be seen as reflecting public opinion on Brexit. The UK is slated to depart the European Union on the 30th of March next year, but much remains to be agreed, including what will happen to the 300-mile border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Last month, Simon Coveney, Ireland’s deputy prime minister, came to Hong Kong. He’s also the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, with special responsibilities for Brexit. We spoke to him during his visit here.
A trade war between the United States and China seems to be heating up. On Tuesday, the US published a list of 1,300 Chinese products to be targeted for a 25% tariff. Beijing retaliated by announcing tariffs on 106 US products. Two days late Donald Trump, as is his way, decided to retaliate against the retaliation. Apparently another US$100 billion in tariffs is now under consideration. The PRC is America’s third largest export market for goods and, of course many other countries also have strong trading ties with China, but doing business in the mainland is far from easy. At the 19th Chinese Party Congress last October, and again at the two meetings last month, Xi Jinping said that the PRC plans to reduce some areas of restriction on market access for overseas companies. It’s hardly a secret that foreign companies face a number of obstacles when operating in the PRC, and are also having to cope with new policies such as the cyber security law, the crackdown on virtual private networks or VPNs, and tightening Party control, So, just how welcoming is China for overseas companies?