China em­brac­ing more EU busi­nesses

China Daily European Weekly - - Comment - Zhang Ming The au­thor is China’s am­bas­sador to the Euro­pean Union.

Coun­try is work­ing hard on fos­ter­ing a ro­bust environment in which for­eign en­ter­prises can thrive on equal terms

Since my man­date as China’s am­bas­sador to the Euro­pean Union started six months ago, China’s busi­ness environment has been a fre­quent topic of my con­ver­sa­tions with Euro­pean friends. Many are ask­ing what China’s busi­ness environment is like and whether it will keep im­prov­ing. I would like to share my views on that.

Un­ques­tion­ably, China is very at­trac­tive to for­eign in­vestors. For years, it has out­per­formed many other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in terms of for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in­flows and ac­tual uti­liza­tion. In 2017, de­spite a de­cline in global FDI flows, more than 35,000 for­eign-in­vested com­pa­nies were newly es­tab­lished in China, up by 27.8 per­cent year-on-year. China also uti­lized $136.3 bil­lion (116.5 bil­lion euros; £102 bil­lion) of for­eign cap­i­tal, hit­ting a record high and mak­ing it­self the sec­ond-largest FDI des­ti­na­tion, sec­ond only to the United States.

As of Jan­uary, the EU’s FDI stock in China had ex­ceeded $120 bil­lion, and the EU had in­vested in nearly 45,000 projects in the coun­try. Sur­veys show that over 50 per­cent of EU com­pa­nies plan to fur­ther ex­pand their op­er­a­tions in China. Ac­cord­ing to the World Bank’s flag­ship an­nual re­port, Do­ing Busi­ness 2018, China is ranked 18 places higher than five years ago in terms of ease of do­ing busi­ness. Its score is higher than the av­er­age for East Asia and the Pa­cific economies and higher than most ma­jor emerg­ing economies.

These fig­ures speak for them­selves. In­vestors are vot­ing through their ac­tions in fa­vor of China. The coun­try’s ef­forts have proved ef­fec­tive in eas­ing mar­ket ac­cess, strength­en­ing rule of law and pro­vid­ing bet­ter ser­vices. Specif­i­cally, the high­lights of our work in the past five years are:

• We have re­vised the Law on Chi­nese-For­eign Joint Ven­tures, as well as other laws and reg­u­la­tions re­lated to for­eign in­vest­ment, with the aim of fos­ter­ing a more trans­par­ent, fairer and well­con­ceived le­gal environment.

• We have ex­panded mar­ket ac­cess to such sec­tors as new en­ergy ve­hi­cles, se­cu­ri­ties and in­sur­ance, as well as sig­nif­i­cantly cut re­stric­tive mea­sures on for­eign in­vest­ment, and given for­eign en­ter­prises equal ac­cess to Made in China 2025 poli­cies.

• We have made busi­ness regis­tra­tion eas­ier for for­eign in­vestors by can­cel­ing or del­e­gat­ing more than one-third of items sub­ject to State Coun­cil re­view and ap­proval.

• We have worked vig­or­ously to step up in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights pro­tec­tion and level the play­ing field.

• We have been ad­vanc­ing pi­lot free trade zones in a holis­tic way to cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for for­eign com­pa­nies.

How­ever, China is still a de­vel­op­ing coun­try. For a coun­try at such a stage of de­vel­op­ment, some is­sues re­lated to the busi­ness environment are un­der­stand­able. Yet we are de­ter­mined to ad­dress them in the course of re­form and open­ing-up. At this year’s an­nual ses­sions of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress and the Na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, the gov­ern­ment promised to strengthen align­ment with in­ter­na­tional busi­ness rules and fos­ter a world-class busi­ness environment. Specif­i­cally, our ef­forts will in­clude — but not be limited to — the fol­low­ing:

• We will com­pletely open up the gen­eral man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor and ex­pand ac­cess to sec­tors like telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, med­i­cal ser­vices and new en­ergy ve­hi­cles.

• We will ease or lift re­stric­tions on the share of for­eign-owned eq­uity in com­pa­nies in sec­tors in­clud­ing bank­ing, se­cu­ri­ties and fu­tures, and make mar­ket en­try stan­dards the same for both Chi­nese and for­eign banks.

• We will grant over­seas in­vestors tax de­fer­ral for the rein­vest­ment of profits made in China.

• We will sim­plify pro­ce­dures for set­ting up for­eign-in­vested en­ter­prises, ap­ply prac­tices de­vel­oped in pi­lot free trade zones across the coun­try and ex­plore open­ing free trade ports.

As we cel­e­brate the 40th an­niver­sary of China’s re­form and open­ing-up, we stand ready to take new and big­ger steps to of­fer a world-class busi­ness environment that is more eq­ui­table, trans­par­ent and pre­dictable.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.