SOURCE / GT VOICE
GT Voice: Ukraine to pay a price for targeting Chinese firm at US’ behest
Published: Nov 30, 2021 09:35 PM
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meets with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, May 6, 2021. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday discussed the security situation and reforms with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kiev, the president's press service said.Photo:Xinhua

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (L) meets with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kiev, capital of Ukraine, May 6, 2021. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday discussed the security situation and reforms with visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kiev, the president's press service said.Photo:Xinhua



Some Chinese investors are no longer willing to put up with Ukraine's politicization of commercial projects and have moved to take legal actions, after the country imposed sanctions on Chinese investors, while expropriating their investments over unfounded excuses.

Beijing Skyrizon Aviation Industry Investment Co has filed a lawsuit against Ukraine over the Motor Sich case in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, demanding $4.5 billion in compensation for alleged unfair treatment of Chinese investors by Ukraine, the Chinese company announced in a statement published on its WeChat account on Monday.

Chinese investors have suffered significant losses due to the unfair treatment and the continued implementation of illegal measures targeting them by Ukraine over the past five years, the statement said. This is the first concrete step the Chinese company took to defend its legitimate rights and interests. Chinese investors, who have been affected, will not rule out the possibility of continuing to demand compensation for additional and supplementary losses.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed an order in January imposing sanctions on Skyrizon, which had sought to acquire control of the Ukrainian aero engine company Motor Sich. Then, in March, a Ukrainian court seized the assets and all the shares of Motor Sich, which was transferred to a government body. By doing so, Ukraine essentially kicked Skyrizon out of Motor Sich without returning the hundreds of millions of dollars the Chinese company had invested.

It should be noted that the deal between Skyrizon and Motor Sich initially didn't face pressure from the Ukrainian government. In 2014, Motor Sich was on the verge of bankruptcy, and the Ukrainian government showed no inclination to come to its rescue. After Skyrizon announced plans to purchase a 56-percent stake in Motor Sich in 2016, the deal was seen by Ukrainian media outlets as an example of a win for the local industry. Skyrizon provided substantial financial support for Motor Sich's development.

Yet, as the deal came to the attention of the US, the acquisition suddenly became controversial in Ukraine. Since 2018, shares of Motor Sich have been frozen at the request of the Ukrainian intelligence service.

Evidently, a major reason behind the impeded cooperation between Skyrizon and Motor Sich is that the US, which has been obsessed with undermining technological cooperation between China and other countries, had exerted pressure to scuttle the deal.

While Ukraine has always showed interest in economic cooperation with China, it seems to be more inclined to side with the US on certain deals. It also shows that geopolitical calculations could prompt Ukraine to sacrifice the interests of Chinese companies in exchange for Washington's support. That means the Motor Sich case may not be the last as the country may target other cooperation projects at the US' request.

However, Ukraine's politicization of normal commercial cooperation would also deal a fresh blow to its already ailing domestic economy. The country is already in an extremely complicated geopolitical environment. Once its government set a precedent of shoehorning geopolitical factors into the economic sector, who would dare to invest in Ukraine? 

Certainly, in light of Skyrizon's experience, Chinese investors will be more cautious about investing and doing business in Ukraine in the future.


blog comments powered by Disqus