Experts view the investigation by US lawmakers into ABB’s China operations as another instance of politicizing routine business activities.

Several US lawmakers have once again cited so-called security concerns as a pretext to initiate an inquiry into the operations of the Swedish-Swiss multinational engineering giant, ABB Group, in China. Experts observed on Sunday that this is yet another typical case of US lawmakers politicizing routine business activities.

In the long run, experts asserted that it will not impact the flow of foreign investment into China or their collaboration with Chinese market players.

Reports indicate that two US congressional committees are scrutinizing ABB’s operations in China, with a particular focus on Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co. ABB is implicated as a sub-supplier to the Chinese state-owned manufacturer of container cranes. ABB clarified that its crane software technology is supplier-independent and installed on cranes produced by major builders, including Chinese companies. These cranes are procured by US ports from various companies, not directly from ABB.

ABB emphasized its compliance with all relevant US regulations and its seriousness in responding to the committees’ requests since July 2023.

Experts noted that this is not the first time the US has targeted cranes from China without supporting evidence, citing previous concerns raised in March 2023 about Chinese-made cranes at American ports being potential spying tools.

The core of the US investigations is seen as a form of trade protectionism, unrelated to global resource allocation or security risks. Instead, it is viewed as the politicization of normal economic activities. Hu Qimu, Deputy Secretary-General of the Digital-Real Economies Integration Forum 50, emphasized that such actions hinder global economic recovery and increase production costs worldwide. This, in turn, could adversely affect the development of US industries.

Despite political interference, experts emphasized that China’s enormous development potential makes it a market that most multinational corporations cannot afford to ignore. The profit-driven nature of capital is expected to prevail over political considerations.

In a positive move, ABB recently announced a three-year plan to invest $100 million in establishing a “net-zero carbon” smart manufacturing hub in China, expressing optimism about significant business opportunities arising from China’s energy transition.

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