President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday promised measures to help prevent foreign investors buying agricultural land in France after a string of international controversies over Chinese purchases.
“For me, French agricultural lands are strategic investments on which our sovereignty depends, so we can’t allow hundreds of hectares of land to be bought by foreign powers without us knowing the aims of these purchases,” Macron told a crowd of young farmers at the presidential palace.
He was referring to news last year that a Chinese fund had bought 900 hectares of land in the cereal-growing Allier region in central France, following an acquisition of 1,700 hectares in the Indre area in 2016.
“We will very obviously put in place regulatory safeguards and will work with you... to put an end to what happened,” he added, referring to the acquisitions.
Australia announced new restrictions on foreign buyers of agricultural land at the beginning of the month, while concerns about Chinese expansion abroad have been voiced from Africa to Canada in the past.
At the end of last year, French rural association Safar urged the government to act against a huge increase in financial investors, rather than farmers, buying land.