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Official: Fair, stable environment for foreign firms top priority

By Tan Xinyu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-04-16 14:34
Exhibitors and buyers discuss orders at the 123rd China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou on April 15, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

China will never stop opening up and will continue to stick to free trade and investment, as creating a stable, fair, transparent and clear-cut business environment under the rule of law is the top task in the country's efforts to attract foreign investment.

These remarks were made by Huang Yong, director of the International Cooperation Center of the National Development and Reform Commission, in an article on Monday.

He said that foreign enterprises have always been a crucial component in China's economy over the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, promoting efficient resources allocation, upgrading economic structure, invigorating domestic market and pushing market-oriented reform.

The article comes after President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference concluded last week in the southern island province of Hainan, which said that China relied mainly on providing favorable policies for foreign investors in the past, but now it will have to rely more on improving the investment environment.

In 2017, 35,652 foreign invested companies were established, up 27.8 percent year-on-year, and actual use of foreign capital reached 877.56 billion yuan, increasing by 7.9 percent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry said that foreign invested companies accounted for less than 3 percent of the country's total, but created nearly half of the foreign trade, more than one fourth of the profits of the industrial enterprises above the designated size and one fifth of the tax revenue.

They played an important role in promoting the development of domestic real economy and the supply-side structural reform, it noted.

Huang cited a survey issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in China in January that said that 64 percent of 411 American companies doing businesses in China saw their revenues grow in 2017 - the rate continued to rise for the third consecutive year and was more than 58 percent in 2016 and 55 percent in 2015.

To keep up the momentum, China will improve laws and regulations involved with intellectual property protection, credit-system building and market supervision, while enhancing alignment with international economic and trading rules, encouraging competition and opposing monopoly.

Financial area will take more measures to further open up, including raising foreign equity caps in the banking, securities and insurance industries, accelerating the opening-up of the insurance industry, easing restrictions on the establishment of foreign financial institutions in China and expanding their business scope, and opening up more areas of cooperation between Chinese and foreign financial markets.

At the same time, China will implement across the board the management system based on pre-establishment national treatment and negative list, expand openness in areas like telecom, healthcare, education and new energy vehicles, and aim to absorb more foreign capital in the country's central, western, and northeastern cities.

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