Saturday, May 25, 2024

Unjustifiable raids by EU condemned

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The China Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, or CCCEU, condemned the European Commission”s surprise raids of the offices of a Chinese company in Poland and the Netherlands on Tuesday in the name of investigating foreign subsidies.

The Chinese business group said it was informed that the enforcement agencies authorized by the European Commission conducted the raids in the morning without prior notice. They seized the company’s IT equipment and employees’ mobile phones, scrutinized office documents, and demanded access to pertinent data.

“The CCCEU expresses serious concern over the EU conducting unjustifiable, unannounced raids on the Chinese company’s subsidiaries in the EU,” it said in a statement.

“The European side manifested its intention to weaponize the Foreign Subsidies Regulation as a tool to suppress lawfully operating Chinese companies in Europe.”

The raids on Tuesday were the first since the FSR was officially implemented in July. The FSR allows the commission to investigate and remedy subsidies received from non-EU countries that distort the EU internal market.

The Brussels-based group voiced “strong dissatisfaction” over the raids “without prior notice and without solid evidence”.

The chamber said the EU’s actions “send a detrimental message not only to Chinese enterprises, but to all non-EU companies operating in the bloc”.

The EU has initiated four investigations under the FSR in the last two months, all targeting Chinese companies, including solar panel, wind turbine and locomotive manufacturers.

‘Extremely shocked’

The statement said the CCCEU and its members are “extremely shocked at and dissatisfied with the unannounced inspection”.

“We urge the European side to stop the abuse of FSR tools and to effectively safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of foreign enterprises in the EU,” it said.

The European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that it carried out unannounced foreign subsidies inspections at the premises of a company active in the production and sale of security equipment in the EU. It, however, did not name the company and its country of origin.

The commission said it has indications that the company “may have received foreign subsidies that could distort the internal market” under the FSR.

The raids were carried out “accompanied by the counterparts from the national competition authorities of the member states where the inspections were carried out”, said the commission, adding that unannounced inspections are a preliminary investigative step into suspected distortive foreign subsidies.

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