The Impact of President-Elect Trump’s Proposed Tax and Interest Rate Policy on China’s Inbound Investments:
In response to an interview request by a Chinese news agency about the impacts of President-elect Trump’s tax and interest rate policy on Chinese FDIs in the US, Siva Yam, President of the US-China Chamber of Commerce states as below
"The Impact of President-Elect Trump’s Proposed Tax and Interest Rate Policy on China’s Inbound Investments: In response to an interview request by a Chinese news agency about the impacts of President-elect Trump’s tax and interest rate policy on Chinese FDIs in the US, Siva Yam, President of the US-China Chamber of Commerce states as below.
In the first half of this year, Chinese FDIs in the US have reached new highs. President-elect Trump's proposed tax cut, interest rate policy may not only attract the return of US overseas investments but also attract more Chinese enterprises to invest in the United States. How will this affect the Chinese economy? How much impact will it have? How should China respond?
Indeed, the first six months of Chinese investments in the US have exceeded what they did in total for the whole year of 2015. There are many reasons for that: Chinese government is changing its policy and has encouraged Chinese companies going out. Second, the dramatic slowdown in China’s economy has forced Chinese companies to go overseas as there are not many good investment opportunities in China. Third, the unique imbalance in Chinese stock market has led to many Chinese companies to go overseas to acquire companies to boost their earnings and realize a high market valuation due to high P/E multiples (and cash out before the stock market turns to normality). Fourth, the continued unclear China’s political and social situation has led many investors to go overseas for diversification of their wealth. Fifth, many financial services companies went to China (an increase in financial services companies going to China) to lure Chinese investors to come to the US, particularly after the financial crisis as they found that the securities laws in Asia are so lax as compared to the US. Trump’s policy will not have much impact on Chinese investments in the US. The key holder is Chinese government. If Chinese government does not have foreign exchange control, then you will see a surge in investments from China to the US. US companies are not going to China to invest because of the maturity of China’s economy regardless of what Trump’s policy is. The Chinese market is known, and the manufacturing cost is rising without parallel increase in productivity. Further, Chinese companies have become competitive domestically in China. The key is what control the Chinese government will do to slow down or stop the outflow of capital. It is the card that the Chinese government is holding. Capital and human resources flights are NOT good for China. China is losing for future growth. Many overseas investments and acquisitions by Chinese companies are money losing propositions. They pay too much, and do not know how to manage. They apply the Chinese model to manage companies in the US. Further, their main goal is to diversify their portfolios not to realize profits. This is further complicated by the fact that Chinese overseas investments are going in the wrong directions. Chinese companies and investors focus too much on real estate, not strategic investments except for the recent acquisition of GE’s home appliances by Haier and the continued investments in R&D in the US by Huawei. Real estate is for stability and returns but will not enhance the competitiveness of Chinese companies in their core competencies in the global market. For instance, a well-known Chinese auto parts company is changing its focus from auto parts to real estate in the US. Chinese companies call themselves multinational companies, but in fact, they are domestic companies with operations overseas.
The Chinese government should encourage Chinese companies to stay focused in expanding their businesses in China with a focus on R&D, higher value added products and manufacturing technology. It should also persuade them to ride on the Chinese economy. In fact, almost every Chinese company prospers because of the domestic market in China. These include Baidu; Alibaba; Wanda ... none of those really make money overseas. Further, the legal system needs to be more transparent to give its citizens and investors confidence.