|Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming speaks at a press conference held by the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2013. (Xinhua/Wang Peng)
BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said on Friday that the Chinese government will support domestic firms investing overseas that wish to safeguard their rights according to law.
Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of parliament's annual session, Chen said recipient countries should create a more transparent and just environment to boost the confidence of foreign investors.
The minister made the remarks in response to a media query about the lawsuit recently filed by Sany Group, China's largest machinery manufacturer, against U.S. President Barack Obama.
Sany Group's U.S.-based subsidiary Ralls Corp, last year filed a complaint against President Obama and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States for blocking its owning of four wind farms in Oregon.
Sany Group spokesman Yang Jian told Xinhua on Sunday that the company will persist in the lawsuit to the end and will appeal to the circuit court or the supreme court of the United States if necessary.
A small group of lawmakers in some developed countries still have a Cold War mentality when assessing Chinese companies' overseas investment, according to Chen.
"For every three Chinese yuan planned to be invested in the United States, only one yuan is approved by the U.S. authorities," he said.
"But I believe this is not mainstream," Chen added, stressing that Chinese investment is increasingly welcomed around the world, whether in Africa or the United States, where it meets positive reactions particularly from politicians and lawmakers at state levels.
The Ministry of Commerce is working with multiple countries, especially developed nations in the West, to sign investment protection agreements to protect the interests of Chinese companies, he added.
Regarding safety examinations over foreign investment, Chen said the practice is understandable and China is establishing its own examination system and hopes to learn from experiences in the United States.
Meanwhile, such examinations should be open and transparent in a way that can make overseas investment more predictable, the minister urged.
A foreign company may be asked by U.S. safety assessors to suspend or terminate its business even three years after it starts operating there, which can result in heavy losses, he noted.
The minister denied a speculation that the government has intervened to guide domestic companies to invest in specific countries or sectors, such as energy.
He said Chinese companies' overseas investment, including the China National Offshore Oil Corporation's recent purchase of Canada's Nexen Inc., is based on the strategic consideration of the companies themselves.
The government will offer consulting services on investment environment, culture and laws of countries where a Chinese firm intends to invest, but will not give specific advice on which country to invest in, he added.
Chinese companies make their own decisions on where and what to invest and have to be responsible for their decisions, he said.
Chen also said Chinese businesses investing overseas have to abide by laws, respect local cultures and traditions, and shoulder social responsibility.
According to the minister, China's foreign direct investment outflows have increased rapidly to 77.2 billion U.S. dollars. China is now among the five biggest capital exporting countries in the world.