Pruned negative list in offing
Updated: September 9, 2021 07:17 China Daily

China will further shorten the negative lists for foreign investment access to its markets this year, offering more business opportunities for global investors to participate in its high-quality development, said officials and experts.

The National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, together with the Ministry of Commerce and other departments, is speeding up the formulation of the 2021 negative list for foreign investment.

The lists are set to be released before the end of the year, said Liu Xiaonan, director of the Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment at the NDRC.

"During the revision, we will stick to the direction to expand opening-up on a larger scale and at a deeper level," Liu told a news conference in Beijing on Sept 8.

"We will further relax restriction on sectors, including manufacturing and services, and give full play to pilot free trade zones' role as a pilot ground for opening-up to boost high-quality economic development."

Liu said he expected to see steady and sound growth in terms of China's actual use of foreign investment in the second half of this year, with the help of the government's effective measures to control COVID-19, steady economic growth and the country's complete industrial and supply chains. "We may see a better-than-expected increase in the actual use of foreign investment for the whole year."

In the next step, the NDRC will continue to promote the implementation of major foreign investment projects across the nation. So far, four groups of major foreign-funded investment projects have been launched in China.

"We've already initiated the applications for the fifth group of major foreign-funded projects," Liu said. "Despite COVID-19's impact on business exchanges and project investigation, foreign-funded enterprises are still optimistic about the China market."

In terms of the fifth group of projects, the country will encourage foreign investment participation in the development of China's midrange and high-end manufacturing, the high-tech sector, transformation and upgrading of traditional manufacturing sectors and modern services.

Foreign companies are also encouraged to increase investment in the central and western regions.

The world's second-largest economy has been attractive to foreign investors this year, with $100.74 billion in foreign investment utilized in the first seven months, up 30.9 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Cui Fan, an international trade and economics professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said China's shorter negative lists for global investors will help advance high-level opening-up and promote investment liberalization.

"It is foreseeable that the negative list will be further shortened in the next few years," Cui said. "China's intensified opening-up measures will not only improve the international competitiveness of Chinese enterprises, but also persuade the regulatory authorities to deepen institutional reforms."

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