China's negative list to be cut to open market access

Huang Yixuan
Foreign businesses will be allowed to operate in more areas in China and capital markets will be further relaxed.
Huang Yixuan

China is to further shorten the Negative List for Market Access, and aims to achieve an actual foreign direct investment of US$700 billion cumulatively in 2021-2025, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry on Friday introduced the commerce development plan during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), clarifying its determination to expand market access for foreign capital and push ahead with reform and opening-up.

It pledged to open up the manufacturing, service and agricultural sectors, and allow businesses controlled or whollyowned by foreign capital to operate in China in more areas.

Opening of key sectors will be promoted, with orderly opening of businesses involved in telecommunications, Internet, education, culture and medical services. 

The capital market, meanwhile, will also be further opened, with loosened restrictions for foreign investors to make strategic investments in listed companies.

China plans to thoroughly ease curbs on market access for foreign capital in areas not involved in the negative list, and push for timely amendment of relevant regulations to ensure equal access of domestic and foreign capital to areas beyond the negative list in accordance with law.

Aside from market access, the ministry pledged to create a fair market environment for domestic and foreign-funded enterprises, promote policies to ensure equal access to finance and taxation for them, and encourage fair competition among businesses from home and abroad.

Foreign companies can also participate equally in government procurement, bidding and standard-setting.

Equal protection of property rights of foreign-capital enterprises is also guaranteed in accordance with law, the ministry said.

China's absorption of foreign investment has grown rapidly, thanks to an accelerated economic recovery after the pandemic and sustained expansion in opening-up and optimization of the business environment. 

In 2020, China for the first time overtook the United States to become the country with the world's largest foreign investment, according to official figures. 

In the first five months of this year, the actual use of foreign capital in China soared by 35.4 percent year on year, and nearly 20,000 foreign-invested enterprises were newly set up.

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