Foreign investment in Xinjiang has come under global scrutiny as western governments accused China of committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in the region. On March 22, the US, UK, Canada and EU imposed sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on senior government officials and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Although Xinjiang is not known as a major destination for foreign investment, it attracted 43 greenfield investment projects worth $5.7bn between 2003 and 2020. The sector drawing the most projects is transportation & warehousing, and the most active source market is the US, which announced eight projects regionally.
Several notable international companies have had projects in the region, including the American Dow Chemical and German SAIC Volkswagen. Volkswagen, which invested $315.5m in a car plant in the city of Ürümqi in 2011, has been questioned over possible use of forced labour in Xinjiang, but denies its involvement in the human rights abuses.
These tensions come a few months after the European Commission and China concluded in principle the negotiations for the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment in late December. The fate of this agreement, which has yet to be ratified by the European Council and the parliament, remains unclear as tensions continue to mount.