New ar­eas opened to off­shore in­vestors

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUE and HU YONGQI

China is open­ing more sec­tors to for­eign in­vest­ment and in­tro­duc­ing a slew of mea­sures to in­vite par­tic­i­pa­tion, top of­fi­cials said.

The State Coun­cil’s ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing on Wed­nes­day chaired by Premier Li Ke­qiang ap­proved a new guide­line to fur­ther at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment and ad­vance China’s open­ing-up.

“We should take mea­sures with great ef­fec­tive­ness in at­tract­ing for­eign cap­i­tal,” Li stressed.

Ac­cord­ing to the new guide­line, for­eign in­vest­ment ac­cess hur­dles will be dropped in a num­ber of man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors, in­clud­ing rail trans­porta­tion, mo­tor­bikes and ethanol fu­els. For­eign cap­i­tal will have ac­cess to fields like en­ergy, wa­ter con­ser­vancy, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and util­i­ties via fran­chise agree­ments.

“China’s econ­omy de­vel­ops as we con­tinue our openingup strat­egy. Be­sides ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy and ex­pe­ri­ence in man­age­ment, China also needs cap­i­tal in­vest­ment from over­seas,” Li said.

The cat­a­log for in­dus­trial ac­cess for for­eign in­vestors also will be amended to match the new mea­sures.

For­eign cap­i­tal will be en­cour­aged to en­ter high-end man­u­fac­tur­ing, as well as re­lated ser­vices such as in­dus­trial de­sign and lo­gis­tics. Ac­count­ing and au­dit­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture de­sign and rat­ing ser­vices will be open to for­eign in­vest­ment for the first time.

For­eign funded firms will be cleared to join the na­tional sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy pro­gram as equals to do­mes­tic firms, and en­joy fa­vor­able poli­cies de­signed for the “Made in China 2025” strat­egy.

The guide­line em­pha­sizes equal treat­ment for for­eign in­vestors, and no ad­di­tional re­stric­tions are al­lowed.

Li said that govern­ment at all lev­els should fur­ther stream­line their ad­min­is­tra­tion to re­in­force the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ex­ist­ing poli­cies in at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ment and re­duce in­sti­tu­tional costs.

The new guide­line high­lights con­sis­tency in poli­cies de­signed to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment. Bet­ter pro­tec­tion

of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights for in­vestors is also cov­ered.

The govern­ment will work to make it eas­ier for for­eign in­vestors and ex­perts to live and work in China. For­eign in­vest­ment in the “en­cour­aged cat­e­gories” in cen­tral and west­ern ar­eas will re­ceive fi­nanc­ing, land and tax­a­tion in­cen­tives.

Li has re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of for­eign in­vest­ment this year. When ad­dress­ing the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly in New York in Septem­ber, he vowed that China will carry out a new round of open­ing-up.

For­eign in­vest­ment is vi­tal for China’s eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion and struc­tural ad­just­ment, said Chen Fengy­ing, a re­searcher in global econ­omy at the China In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions.

“Multi­na­tional com­pa­nies are fac­ing com­pe­ti­tion from Chi­nese ri­val en­ter­prises and ris­ing costs of la­bor, but the mar­ket po­ten­tial of Chi­nese con­sumers and China’s ad­van­tage in ed­u­cated tal­ent still at­tract over­seas in­vestors,” Chen said.

China, which now is en­cour- ag­ing for­eign in­vest­ments to move into high-end, low car­bon and sus­tain­able in­dus­tries, can im­prove the busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment and lower mar­ket ac­cess bar­ri­ers by in­tro­duc­ing neg­a­tive lists and grant­ing multi­na­tional com­pa­nies na­tional treat­ment, which may main­tain its at­trac­tive­ness, Chen added. Neg­a­tive lists in­clude only those ac­tiv­i­ties that are off lim­its in a sec­tor, and all other ac­tiv­i­ties are con­sid­ered open.

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