BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany wants to acquire the legal means to take a closer look at bids from Chinese companies to acquire German and European companies in order better to protect technologies, a German minister told newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
Matthias Machnig, state secretary in Germany's economics ministry, said it was urgent that proposed Europe-wide measures to police surging Chinese investment be adopted by the end of this year.
"It is essential that we get a tougher law in the European Union this year to resist takeover fantasies or outflows of technology or know-how," he said in an interview, excerpts of which were made available on Saturday.
The paper cited a study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research that showed the volume of known Chinese investments in Germany had risen to 12.1 billion euros ($15.03 billion) in 2017 from around 11 billion the year before and just 100 million euros seven years ago.
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Concern has been growing across Europe at China's buying spree on the continent, with investors snapping up often iconic businesses in a way many fear could threaten Europe's position as a high-value economy.
"With its innovative companies, the EU is attractive for many around the world," Machnig said. "Takeovers are becoming more frequent, often under market-distorting conditions."
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Stephen Powell)