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Greater effort vowed on foreign investment

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated:2023-03-06

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An employee works on the production line of a foreign-funded machinery manufacturer in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Zhai Huiyong/For China Daily]

China is a market foreign enterprises must go to, and the country will further strengthen efforts to retain and attract more high-quality foreign investment, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said on Thursday.

He made the remarks at a news conference in Beijing to expound China's stance on promoting foreign investment.

Attracting and utilizing more foreign investment will be "a key task" this year, Wang said, adding that the country will make greater efforts to promote investment, improve services, expand opening-up and optimize the business environment, in order to retain high-quality foreign investment and attract more foreign investors.

"We will thoroughly implement the foreign investment law and its implementation regulations to apply national treatment to foreign enterprises with high standards," he said.

"Issues many foreign enterprises raise, such as those regarding government procurement, bidding and standards formulation, will be key focuses of our work," he added.

Wang said the ministry and other central government departments will conduct research and roll out policy measures to ensure foreign enterprises have equal access to those opportunities.

Cross-department complaint and coordination mechanisms at all government levels will also be established and improved to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.

The ministry will also initiate a "Year of Investing in China" program, which will include a series of foreign investment promotional events and activities at home and abroad.

Wang said the ministry will enhance services for foreign investors including holding regular consultations and discussions with foreign enterprises and business chambers to help them solve problems.

Huo Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, said China faces serious challenges in attracting foreign direct investment this year against the backdrop of a gloomy global economy and the probable intensifying of the United States' moves to contain China.

To cope with the challenge, China is expected to further optimize the business environment, enhance policy consistency, firmly safeguard the legitimate interests of all enterprises and proactively expand opening-up in the services industry, Huo said.

China is also likely to enhance implementation of the negative lists system and the catalog of industries encouraging foreign investment, while further expanding market access to high-tech industries, he added.

On the back of China's steady economic rebound and firm commitment to opening-up, many multinational companies have shown strong confidence in China.

Mauro De Felip, general manager of Ferrero China, said a company cannot call itself a multinational if it is not successful in Asia. "To be successful in Asia means to be successful in China," he said.

Moody's Investors Service recently lifted its forecast for China's real GDP growth to 5 percent for both 2023 and 2024, up from its previous projection of 4 percent for both years. Deutsche Bank raised its forecast of China's growth to 6 percent this year, up from 4.5 percent in its previous estimate.

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