EU plans tightening foreign investment with eye on China

European Commission Vice Presidents Vestager and Dombrovskis, and EU Commissioner for Internal Market Breton news conference in Brussels

European Commission Vice Presidents Margrethe Vestager, center, Valdis Dombrovskis, left, and EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton participate in a media conference on the proposal for a Regulation to address distortions caused by foreign subsidies in the Single Market and on the European Industrial Strategy Update at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Yves Herman, Pool via AP)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is planning to tighten the foreign investment rules in the bloc to make sure that local producers and industries are no longer undercut by non-EU investors that have faced slacker rules up to now.

The plans announced Wednesday will surely affect China, which has invested heavily in Europe despite relying on types of state aid no longer available to EU firms.

Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton says that with the proposal, the EU is “closing a gap in our rule book to make sure that all companies compete on an equal footing.”

Battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU economy has taken an unprecedented hit and also laid bare dependencies on strategic products in sensitive sectors, from energy to heath, in which it wants to become far more autonomous.

The goal is to “build Europe a stronger and more resilient economy,” EU Vice President Margrethe Vestager said.

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