BASF’s Hambrecht hits at China’s business policies

Hambrecht.jpgThe business climate for Western firms in China is getting worse.

2 weeks ago, the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, caused a stir when he told a private dinner that “I really worry about China. I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful.”

Today, BASF CEO, Jürgen Hambrecht, has publicly hit out at restrictions on foreign business. In a meeting with Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, he complained about “foreign companies being forced to transfer business and technological know-how to Chinese companies in exchange for market access“, and concluded “that does not exactly correspond to our views of a partnership.”

Replying, Wen apparently told Hambrecht to “calm down“, and went on to add, “currently, there is an allegation that China’s investment environment is worsening. I think it is untrue.”

Hambrecht has been a staunch defender of China in the past, even criticising German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her meeting with the Dalai Lama in 2007. His public concern is therefore a clear sign that China’s relationships with Western firms are deteriorating.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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