Enel has put a 205MW project on hold in Colombia after long-running protests, and it is not the only company facing such unrest. We look at whether the government can improve consultation before it's too late.
Recently the US president took the unusual step of blocking the first domestic transaction, based entirely on national security grounds, in 22 years.
When he did, the construction machinery-maker behind the deal quickly branded the move as a political stunt and complete bureaucratic nonsense.
However, that wasn’t the really surprising part.
The most surprising element was that the firm in question – that was supplying the kit and that was set to co-own and develop the power initiative – was Chinese.
So, that’s a major Chinese company lecturing the US government (or more specifically, the Committee on Foreign Investment), on bureaucracy and free thinking entrepreneurialism. In this regard, you’ve really got it hand it to them.
Or more specifically, you’ve got to hand it to Xiang Wenbo, a founding member of Sany Group and one of China’s richest men.
For Xiang, the case exemplifies a growing sense among Chinese businesses that they face discrimination in their efforts to expand into the US – a situation that is made worse by the impending presidential elections.
What’s more, there’s a growing body of opinion that suggests that the man has a point.
As Romney and Obama move towards the third and final instalment of their televised presidential debates, and as they both take an increasingly closer look at foreign policy and investment, much of this can be boiled down to one specific market question. Namely, who can be tougher on China?
For the two candidates, this is an area in which they remain confident that they can win votes and as such, it’s an election issue that’s quickly set to escalate.
However, from a wider energy perspective, there’s a need for these actions to be more carefully considered and perhaps crucially, to be set in perspective.
While flooding Western markets with cheap Chinese kit is never going to exactly curry favour with local manufacturers and regional construction firms, imposing import tariffs isn’t exactly the stuff of the future either.
As such, the ability to be able to find a way in which to navigate this complex pricing challenge is paramount. Developers and investors are always going to aim for the best possible kit at the best possible price. While the introduction of international tariffs and duties smacks of maintaining short-term domestic interests.
A compromise needs to be reached and given the recent well-publicised German spat, the US must once again look overseas and further afield, and take heed, fast.