Since the adoption of China’s ‘going out’ strategy, Chinese enterprises have been strongly encouraged to engage overseas in a range of sectors, including agriculture. This has gathered a significant amount of interest in recent years, with a critical focus on large scale acquisitions by Chinese companies. Agriculture accounts for a small percentage of China’s overall outbound investment, and many of the large-scale land acquisitions reported in the media have not materialized.1 Nonetheless, Chinese companies of various sizes are now active in agriculture projects across the world, not only in production, but also processing, purchasing and trade. This report seeks to provide an overview of the current state of China’s overseas investment in agriculture in the Mekong region, with a focus on Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Understanding China’s financial institutions, companies and state actors responsible for the oversight of outbound investment is imperative if people on the receiving end of these investments are to have a say in the projects that affect them and the resources they depend upon.
This guide explains the key actors involved in Chinese overseas investment and describes the environmental and social standards and guidelines that apply. The guide provides practical tips on how these standards can be used in advocacy with relevant Chinese actors and institutions. IDI hopes that this resource will assist community advocates to put these standards to the test and demand that the rights of people affected by Chinese investments are respected and protected.
A decade after former US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick urged China to become a “responsible stakeholder” (Zoellick 2005) in the international system, China started its so far biggest multilateral initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Early this year the bank opened for business and started to approve its first projects in Central, South and Southeast Asia