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Domestic market to adhere to global standards

China Daily | June 15, 2023


China will continue to foster a market-oriented and law-based business environment in keeping up with international standards as part of the country's efforts to catalyze foreign investment to a greater extent, officials said on Wednesday at a news conference held by the State Council Information Office.

Greater efforts will be made to create a level playing field for all kinds of market entities, strengthen legal underpinnings and steadily expand institutional opening-up in a bid to anchor social expectations, stimulate market vitality and sustain economic recovery and growth, they added.

Yuan Da, deputy secretary-general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said China will fully adhere to advanced international high-standard market rules, put in place new systems for a higher-standard open economy, and steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards.

Stronger measures to galvanize foreign investment will be explored on top of existing policies so as to create a level playing field, promote the flow of factors of production that enable innovation, and enhance pragmatic cooperation between domestic and foreign enterprises, Yuan said.

The negative list for foreign investment will be shortened in light of actual circumstances, he said, adding that better services to promote foreign investment will be provided on an ongoing basis, and Customs clearance will be further simplified.

A flurry of international industrial investment cooperation activities will be launched to provide a matchmaking platform for multinational companies and local governments. A sound mechanism for smooth communication with foreign enterprises and timely handling of their problems and requirements will be put in place, he said.

In the first four months, the number of newly established foreign enterprises in China grew 31.1 percent year-on-year, and foreign direct investment in January-April rose 2.2 percent from a year earlier to 499.46 billion yuan ($69.78 billion), Yuan said.

As China's business environment continues to be optimized, foreign enterprises are expressing optimism about China's economic outlook and plan to scale up investment, according to a recent survey conducted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade in the first quarter.

About 97 percent of more than 600 surveyed foreign companies rated China's foreign investment policies — introduced since the fourth quarter of last year — as "satisfactory" or above, and the satisfaction ratings for various business environment indicators were all above 80 percent.

That said, there remain some gaps across different regions regarding fostering a more enabling business environment due to uneven development status and other basic conditions, Yuan added.

Going forward, key regions such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze Economic Belt and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are encouraged to implement pilot measures on par with international standards and offer their best-practice experience to other regions, he said.

Localities are encouraged to take region-specific measures in light of actual conditions to help nurture more new market entities and facilitate their operations based on market rules, he said.

Furthermore, dedicated efforts will be made to lower their overall costs, provide greater facilitation and shore up the sustainable development of foreign-trade businesses, said Wu Haiping, director-general of the General Administration of Customs' department of general operations.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement will help bring about even greater trade liberalization and facilitation. Steps will be taken to help enterprises better harness preferential tariffs and boost intra-regional trade, Wu said.

Better consultation services will be provided to help enterprises deal with unreasonable trade barriers and beef up intellectual property rights protections for Chinese brands so as to help Chinese enterprises expand in international markets, he said.

Management of cross-border e-commerce import and export returns and exchanges will be made more convenient. Enterprises in integrated bonded areas and pilot free trade zones will be supported to offer bonded repair services, Wu added.