Investment & Trade

Nation to grant FDI greater access to its markets

Updated: Mar 20, 2024 By ZHONG NAN Print
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High-rises dominate the skyline on both sides of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Investment: Policies bring about new growth opportunities

China will further shorten the negative list for foreign investment and implement pilot programs to ease access for global companies in the fields of scientific and technological innovation, said an action plan released by the General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Tuesday.

To broaden market access for foreign investment, the country will remove restrictions on foreign participation in the manufacturing sector and continue to increase openness in sectors such as telecommunications and healthcare, the policy document stated.

Foreign financial entities will be granted greater access to the country's banking and insurance sectors, and the operational scope for foreign financial institutions will be expanded in China's domestic bond market.

The introduction of this action plan indicates that the country is looking to foster sustainable economic growth, technological innovation and stronger global competitiveness, said Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of World Economics and Politics.

For instance, the government said that it will push forward negotiation and implementation of high-level economic and trade agreements to enhance the country's appeal to foreign investors, Gao said.

China is facing challenges in attracting foreign investment. The overall pace of global cross-border investment remains slow, with many developing countries and emerging economies competing to relax investment restrictions, thus intensifying the competition for attracting investment.

Moreover, the adoption of strategies like "decoupling" and "de-risking" by certain Western countries has made multinational companies wary about their investment choices, thereby creating challenges for China in its quest to attract foreign capital.,

Addressing these issues, Cui Fan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said that accelerating the establishment of a new development pattern and enhancing the level of foreign investment utilization are crucial.

The key is to enhance the attractiveness of China's vast market to global investors and optimize the environment for foreign investment, said Cui, adding that as China continues to progress in implementing policies for high-level economic openness and fostering new quality productive forces, global companies have already found new growth opportunities, especially in areas like high-end manufacturing, digital transformation and efforts toward decarbonization.

Stephen Lewis, president and CEO for Asia-Pacific region at Voith Hydro, a German hydroelectric equipment manufacturer, said that China's economy is shifting toward high-quality development, and there is surging demand for sustainable green technologies, including renewable energy technologies.

"This shift brings a new impetus for global companies, and we look forward to leveraging this opportunity to continue contributing to China's ecological environment quality," said Lewis.

Sharing similar views, Sally Loh, president for the China unit of Otis Worldwide Corp, a United States-based elevator manufacturer, said the company will continue to invest in future technologies in China with a focus on safety and sustainability to serve domestic and international markets.

The US company established a research and development center in Tianjin in October, which serves as its innovation base in northern China.

To foster a more open, fair and competitive environment for multinational corporations, the action plan said that efforts will be made to end practices that hinder fair competition and refine the bidding process, ensuring foreign companies can participate in setting standards and join committees under equitable conditions.

The new policy also highlights initiatives to facilitate smoother data sharing between foreign-invested firms and their global headquarters, alongside simplifying business travel procedures for employees, in addition to broadening the range of industries and projects that welcome foreign investment.

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