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No worry for China's deals abroad after Coke

China's rejection of Coca-Cola Co's bid for its top domestic juice maker won't affect Chinese companies aiming to invest abroad, Vice Commerce Minister Chen Jian said yesterday.

"I am not worried," Chen said at a briefing in Beijing after he was asked if other governments would block Chinese investments after the rejection of Coke's US$2.4 billion bid for China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd.

"We made the decision based on our anti-monopoly law; other countries have their own anti-monopoly laws which they will follow," Chen said.

Currently, a number of Chinese companies are launching overseas mergers and acquisitions plans, many in the resources sector against a backdrop of fallout of global economic crisis.

China's outward foreign direct investment may exceed inflows in 2009 for the first year, given a stronger yuan, cheaper commodities and good liquidity of domestic banks and companies, according to a Standard Chartered Bank report.

Among a flurry of deals is Aluminum Corp of China's planned US$19.5 billion investment in miner Rio Tinto which is under review by the Australian government amid mounting opposition from politicians and shareholders.

It would be the biggest overseas deal for China to date. Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board has extended its investigation into the deal by up to 90 days.

The extension should not be a cause for concern given the massive size of the investment, Chen said.

Chen was also confident the blocked Coca-Cola deal wouldn't affect foreign companies' willingness to invest in China. The nation remains the most attractive destination for foreign investment, though foreign direct investment inflow fell 26.2 percent to US$13.37 billion in the first two months of the year as multinational companies trimmed spending.

"China still has potential to draw more foreign direct investment," Chen said.


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