BEIJING: China will further cut restrictions on foreign investment and address the challenges faced by foreign companies looking to invest in its market this year, the country’s top commerce official said.
The negative list, which restricts foreign investment in certain industries, will be further shortened in both its 12 pilot free trade zones and nationwide, and allow full foreign ownership in more sectors, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.
He specifically outlined a push for foreign investment in manufacturing and high-tech industries and in central and western regions, adding that the government will help foreign companies address difficulties with investing in China.
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To build a favourable environment, the ministry will push for a foreign investment law and improve the government’s handling of complaints from foreign businesses, Zhong said.
As a major global investment destination, China has maintained stable growth in foreign direct investment against a gloomy global setting. Its FDI grew by 3% year-on-year to $135 billion in 2018, while, the figures for the world as a whole and developed countries dropped 41% and 69%, respectively, in the first half of last year, said Zhong.
The World Bank raised China’s ranking in terms of business environment by 32 places. Also, 95% of companies surveyed by the Washington-based US-China Business Council said that they would increase investment or maintain their existing presence in China in the coming year, according to a report released in December.
“The Chinese market has a huge potential and sound prospects,” Zhong said. The country’s goods consumption is expected to achieve 9.1% annual growth in 2018.
This article originally appeared on the China Economic Net
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2019.
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