Chinese investors urged to comply with Zimbabwe indigenization regulations

2012-12-13 16:22:09 GMT2012-12-14 00:22:09(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

HARARE, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin on Thursday urged Chinese companies operating in the southern African country to comply with local indigenization law that requires foreign-owned companies to offer 51 percent of their shareholding to Zimbabweans.

"We have some Chinese companies investing here. Some of them are state-owned enterprises and others are private companies and our advice to them is that they have to follow the Zimbabwean laws or regulations. But there is need to take into consideration interests of both sides," he told a press conference.

He said there is need for protection of foreign and Chinese investors' interests as the law is being implemented.

The Zimbabwean government enacted the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act in 2007 and has since 2009 been implementing the law which has so far seen several foreign-owned mining companies implementing community share ownership trusts meant to benefit communities around mines.

Lin said as the law was being implemented Chinese companies "should still benefit from their investment here."

He said protection of Chinese investors' interests during implementation of the law was particularly important for their continued stay in the country.

On claims that Chinese companies were abusing local workers, the ambassador said the Chinese government did not condone such behavior, urging Chinese companies operating in the country to abide by Zimbabwe's labor laws.

He said the Chinese government would only offer protection to law-abiding Chinese in foreign countries.

"My government and the embassy have always tried to advise Chinese companies to keep in good terms with the local people and to follow Zimbabwe government policies. If they commit crimes they should be punished. They should be brought to justice," he said.

The ambassador defended Chinese government-owned companies, saying these observed local labor laws and treated workers well.

"But I don't deny that some of them, especially small ones, put profits as their priority," he said.

He said the Chinese government will also work with Zimbabwe to address the problem of cheap Chinese products flooding the local market.

Meanwhile, the ambassador said he had confidence in Zimbabwe holding peaceful general elections next year.

"I don't think violence will come back again. I have confidence in Zimbabwe and its people," he said.

After working together in the inclusive government for four years, Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement principals are now showing greater understanding of each other, he said.

President Robert Mugabe formed a coalition government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara in 2009.

Elections will be held next year at the end of the inclusive government's five-year term.

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