Chinese investments in Europe have surged in recent years, totaling €35 billion in 2016. This paper examines the nature and scope of Chinese investments, how investments in Europe differ to those made in the Global South, why the Chinese state is interested in investing in the Europe and the implications for social movements committed to social justice.
Industrial tree plantations (ITP), as a newly emerging sector, is expanding quickly and massively in Southern China, involving foreign corporations (including Finnish and Indonesian) tied to a variety of domestic partners, both state and corporate. In some places, the villagers embrace the land deals, while in others these land deals have provoked conflicts.
The Bangkok-based Sino-Thai company Choern Pakard Group (CP Group), Asia's largest and most prominent agro-food/feed corporation, has led an industrial maize contract farming scheme with (ex-)poppy upland smallholders in Shan State, northern Myanmar to supply China’s chicken-feed market. Thailand, as a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and regional powerhouse, has long-tapped China’s phenomenal economic growth and undersupplied consumer demand.
Since the liberalization of the Sino-Soviet border, Chinese peasants, migrants, and investors have been actively engaged in agriculture in the Russian Far East (RFE). These range from agricultural laborers contracted by labor-exporting firms, to farmers who have set up their own small and medium-sized farms.
China is one of the major investors in hydropower development in mainland Southeast Asia, yet Chinese involvement in hydropower varies across the region. Popular and expert viewpoints on China’s investment in hydropower also vary widely.
Development cooperation is an increasingly prominent focus in Chinese foreign diplomacy, and a central justification for Chinese firms’ engagement in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) across the global South.
As Brazil and China become the world’s leading exporter and importer of soybeans respectively, Chinese companies have sought investments in Brazil to wrest greater control over the flows and profits of the international soybean trade from North Atlantic-based transnational companies. While some promote these as positive “South-South cooperation”, many others condemn them as neocolonial “land grabs” that displace peasants, cause environmental degradation, and deindustrialize the Brazilian economy.
In February 2012 Economic Land Concessions granted to private companies in Cambodia totalled 2,033,664 ha., and increased to 2,289,490 ha. by June 2013, covering 63 per cent of the country’s arable land. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to Cambodia grew by 73 per cent from 2011 to 2012. The country, together with Myanmar and Vietnam, is referred to as one of the ‘emerging bright spots of the subregion’.
A new phase of ‘foreignization’ and land grabbing is occurring via value-chain relations in Bolivia. Exogenous forces from some BRICS and MICs are penetrating Bolivia’s countryside and drastically changing social relations of production, reproduction, property and power.
From 2000, onwards a growing trend of internationalization of Argentinian firms has emerged, with neighbouring countries as a main focus, particularly Brazil. Agricultural production (particularly "flex crops", such as soybean, linked to the new food-fodder-fuel complex) has constituted a central point of their business.
BRICS countries’ investors play an increasingly crucial role in land investments. Just as the global trend of increased interest and investment in land has led to a surge of land grabbing, BRICS investments have proved no different.
An illuminating essay on historical developments in Russia's foreign policy over the last century that argues that only internal political collapse now has the chance to inaugurate a new foreign policy relevant to a post-crisis world.
Signing international investment treaties, in the hope of attracting foreign investments, has been a central strategy for governments looking to improve economic development. The less known side of this story is that by signing investment treaties, governments are giving away the sovereign right to regulate in the interest of people and the environment. They also expose themselves to the risk of spending millions in law suits that could have been used to serve public needs. It’s time that the dark side of investment is put under the spotlight.
The secretive and lucrative world of international investment arbitration has enriched a small coterie of multi-billion dollar international firms, which actively promote and even help finance litigations against states and have fought fiercely to prevent changes to an unjust international investment regime.
Between 20 and 21 September 2011, 40 ASEAN campaigners and experts met in Manila to share knowledge and experiences, articulate common strategies and discuss alternatives to the current investment regime.
Bilateral investment treaties (BITs) allow transnational corporations to by-pass domestic courts and sue sovereign states - costing tax payers millions in legal expenses and preventing governments from acting in the best interests of their citizens.