Sany Group optimistic on US case

Updated: 2013-03-03 07:48

By Wei Tian and Hu Haiyan (China Daily)

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Although the majority of Sany Group's claims on US President Barack Obama for "illegally" blocking its wind-farm project were rejected, there is still a chance to win the case, senior executives of the heavy-equipment maker said on Saturday.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia signed an order on Dec 22, saying Ralls Corp, which is owned by two executives of Sany, can continue the part of its lawsuit that calls for Obama to explain the legal basis for his executive order in September - which forced the company to divest its stake in an Oregon wind-power project.

Obama's order came after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States told Ralls to stop and remove the equipment, arguing the wind farms are near the restricted air space of a US Navy weapons-testing facility in Oregon.

Jackson rejected the other four counts by Sany, including those contesting the authority of the president to require the sale. She said presidential orders aren't subject to judicial review but "courts can hold hearings on whether the government deprived Ralls of its property without due process of law".

But Wu Jialiang, deputy general manager of Sany Group and CEO of Ralls Corporation, called the current progress a breakthrough.

"The key count being granted indicates that it is possible for Sany to win the lawsuit in the end," Wu said in a press conference in Beijing.

Wu said Jackson's ruling that the court has the jurisdiction to review the case was unexpected, as Sany has already prepared to appeal to other courts.

"It is a huge encouragement to us," he said.

Xiang Wenbo, director of Sany Group, said the judge has drawn a road map for foreign companies to protect their assets in the US, which also can be referenced by other Chinese companies such as ZTE and Huawei.

"We hope that what we are doing can make CFIUS more prudent with its power to handle the investment issues of foreign companies in the US," Xiang said, adding that Sany will press its litigation until there is a solution and compensation.

Ralls claimed it has lost more than $20 million from its Oregon investment.

Tim Xia, attorney for the case, said "this interim progress is significant to break the stereotype that the orders of CFIUS and the president are free from judicial review."

"It is a very positive response from the court. It is like bringing sunshine into the black box of CFIUS," he said.

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