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EU Policy. Chinese Nuctech raided in ex officio foreign subsidies investigation

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Berlaymont building Copyright Christophe Licoppe/EU
Copyright Christophe Licoppe/EU
By Paula Soler
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The EU Commission has used new powers to raid a Chinese surveillance company under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation – in a move that will further complicate ties with Beijing.

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Nuctech’s offices in The Netherlands and Poland were raided on Tuesday (23 April) in the ex-officio investigation by the European Commission regarding foreign subsidies, a company representative has told Euronews.

The inspection was the first to be carried out under the Foreign Subsidies Regulation, which applied since July 2023 and aims to ensure a level playing field for all companies operating in the single market.

The company, a Chinese manufacturer of security equipment mainly used in airports and seaports, said it’s planning to cooperate with the EU on the investigation.

The Commission carried out the inspections in Nuctech’ offices in Poland and The Netherlands together with its national counterparts, following indications that the inspected company may have received foreign subsidies that could distort the EU market.

“If the Commission were to find sufficient indications of the existence of distortive foreign subsidies, it will open an in-depth investigation,” the Commission said in a statement.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in the EU (CCCEU) earlier stated it had been informed of unannounced raids on the premises of a Chinese company in the Netherlands and Poland.

"The CCCEU expresses its serious concern over the EU's unjustified 'dawn raids' on the operations of Chinese companies in the EU," the chamber said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening.

According to the CCCEU , the enforcement agencies seized the company's IT equipment and employees' mobile phones, scrutinised office documents and demanded access to relevant data.

To date, the Commission has opened several investigations into Chinese companies under the regulation, and just today the EU executive launched a probe into China's public procurement of medical devices.

As a response, the chamber is urging the European Commission to protect the rights and interests of foreign companies in the EU, arguing that these actions send a "negative message" to all non-EU companies doing business in the bloc.

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