Nation opens up wider to foreign investors

China Daily
China is expanding its investment scope for foreign investors with steps to revise the encouraged industries catalog and shorten the negative list for foreign investment.
China Daily

China is expanding its investment scope for foreign investors with steps to revise the encouraged industries catalog and shorten the negative list for foreign investment, offering more business opportunities for global stakeholders, officials said on Wednesday.

Hua Zhong, an official with the Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the commission has started the work of revising the catalog of industries in which foreign investment is encouraged.

In terms of the revision of the national catalog, the focus will be on encouraging foreign investors' participation in the manufacturing sector, and more efforts will be made to promote the integrated development of the services and manufacturing sectors, and increase support for advanced manufacturing, modern services, high-tech, energy conservation and environmental protection, he said.

"Multinational corporations are encouraged to expand their investments in pertinent sectors within China, forging robust partnerships with both upstream and downstream enterprises to realize mutual benefits and shared growth," he said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.

As for the revision of the encouraged industries catalog that covers the central, western and northeastern regions, tailored support will be provided for fields like basic manufacturing, applicable technologies and consumption of items related to people's livelihoods, Hua said.

"The development landscape in those regions is becoming increasingly favorable, with abundant resources, broad markets and sufficient talent," he said. "We welcome multinational companies worldwide to direct their attention toward these regions, expanding their business footprint and operations therein."

Foreign direct investment in China, in terms of actual use, fell 8 percent year-on-year to 1.13 trillion yuan ($157 billion) in 2023. Yet, it remained at a historically elevated level, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

According to the key finding of the 46th Global Investment Trends Monitor by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, global foreign direct investment flows in 2023, at an estimated $1.37 trillion, showed a marginal increase of 3 percent over 2022.The headline increase was due largely to higher values in a few European conduit economies. Excluding these conduits, global FDI flows were 18 percent lower, the monitor stated.

Looking ahead, Wu Hao, secretary-general of the NDRC, said China enjoys obvious advantages and huge development space in terms of attracting foreign investment, given its many features like the ultra-large market, rising demand across sectors like advanced manufacturing, urban development, consumption upgrade, stable policy environment, the world's most complete industrial system, burgeoning infrastructure network, an abundant talent pool and dynamic innovation ecosystems.

Official data showed the number of newly established foreign-invested enterprises in China rose to 53,766 in 2023, up nearly 40 percent over 2022.

Wu said the NDRC will collaborate closely with local authorities and relevant departments to advance high-standard opening-up. Key priorities include the following: expanding institutional opening-up across rules, governance and standards; shortening the negative list for foreign investment; removing all restrictions on foreign investment in the manufacturing sector; optimizing the business environment; and launching a new batch of foreign-funded flagship projects.

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