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China Asks Companies to Mind Environment When Investing Overseas

China issued environmental protection guidelines for the country’s companies to follow when investing overseas, calling on them to pay more attention to pollution and its impact on local communities.

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Environmental Protection issued the guidelines so that Chinese companies can reduce disputes arising from the neglect of environmental issues, Yao Jian, a commerce ministry spokesman, said at a briefing in Beijing yesterday. The guidelines call on companies to follow local environmental laws, assess the environmental risks of their projects, minimize the impact on local heritage and draft plans for handling emergencies.

“We want our companies to realize that they must look after environmental issues in domestic and overseas investments,” Bie Tao, a policy department official from the Chinese environment ministry, said at the briefing. “No side will win if the environment is neglected, and we have many lessons in this regard.”

Zambia last week revoked the license of a Chinese-owned coal mine in the south of the country after violations of safety and environmental laws. In Myanmar, construction of a $3.6 billion hydropower plant by a venture between China Power Investment Corp., Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power-1 and a local private company was halted after the project drew the criticism of environmentalists and local residents protested.

China’s outbound investment in the non-financial sector jumped 28.6 percent to $77.2 billion in 2012, according to the commerce ministry.

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