On Friday we led with the news that the Chinese authorities were investigating Johnson & Johnson baby products for potential cancer-causing chemicals. So today, in the interests of fairness, we’ll start by saying that they didn’t find any – it’s OK to start washing your children’s hair again. We are not the only ones trying to be even-handed. Commerce Minister Chen Deming is seeking to play down fears that the rejection of Coca-Cola’s takeover bid for local juice maker Huiyuan represents a rejection of foreign investment in China. It’s all a big misunderstanding, the door is still very much open, Chen said. Unfortunately, he went on to argue that the Coke-Huiyuan deal had nothing to do with China’s foreign investment policy because both companies are technically foreign firms. Yes, Huiyuan is registered in the Cayman Islands and listed in Hong Kong. But if this means it isn’t a Chinese company, then neither are half the red chips on the Hong Kong exchange (not to mention any “Chinese company” listed in London or New York that isn’t a major state-owned enterprise). If Ansteel and Hunan Valin make their cases to Australia’s foreign investment regulator with a similarly compelling lack of logic, then the politicians in Canberra need not worry – Gindalbie Metals and Fortescue Metals Group will stay out of Chinese hands for the time being.
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