China to tackle major issues facing foreign firms

China will focus on tackling major issues faced by foreign businesses, as part of the country's unswerving effort to expand all-around opening-up, Zhao Chenxin, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told a press conference. China has repeatedly reaffirmed its commitment to further opening up its vast domestic market for foreign businesses despite growing unilateralism and protectionism pursued by some Western countries, particularly the U.S. The work report to the 20th National Party Congress stressed promoting high-standard opening-up, stating that China will steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards; and push economic globalization toward being more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, Zhao reaffirmed.

Zhao was asked by a foreign reporter about travel restrictions for foreign business executives and how they impact foreign businesses' enthusiasm for the Chinese market. Since the beginning of 2022, despite the global pandemic, a complex and grim international landscape and weak transnational investment, China has overcome multiple difficulties in attracting foreign investment and achieved growth while maintaining stability and improving the quality of investment, Zhao said. China will strive to solve the major problems facing foreign-invested enterprises and comprehensively strengthen promotion and services for foreign investment, he added. “We will work with relevant parties to advance opening-up at a high level, intensify policies to attract foreign investment, and make better use of the positive role of foreign investment in promoting high-quality development and unimpeded dual circulation,” Zhao said.

There has been a misunderstanding about the new pattern of development that is focused on the domestic economy and features positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows, Zhao said, adding that it is wrong to think that by focusing on the domestic economy, China will scale back its opening-up efforts or even turn to a “self-sufficient economy.” Economic globalization has become an irreversible trend, he said, adding that China is already deeply integrated into the global economy and the international system, and the industries of China and many other countries are highly interconnected and interdependent. “Fostering a new pattern of development is important for China to achieve development that is of higher quality and is more efficient, fair, sustainable and secure," he said. China will continue to improve its business climate, implement systems such as negative list management, and work with relevant departments and local governments to provide more convenience for international exchanges and cooperation while keeping Covid-19 under control, the Global Times reports.

According to the China Daily, China will release the sixth list of major foreign investment projects and further expand the 2022 industry catalog of sectors encouraging foreign investment as part of its latest efforts to advance high-level opening-up, Zhao Chenxin, said. The first such list was released in 2018. The industry catalog will be updated to increase support for foreign investment in such fields as advanced manufacturing and modern services, as well as in China’s central, western and northeastern regions. More policy measures to spur foreign investment quality and quantity will be released, with a focus on the manufacturing sector, he said.

“Despite the rising protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment in the world, China is determined to expand high-level opening-up with concrete actions,” said Liu Ying, Researcher at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. “That will facilitate global cross-border business activity to further consolidate China’s role as a safe bet for foreign investment and, more importantly, a stabilizer and powerhouse for global economic recovery.”

From January to August, China's utilized foreign capital reached CNY892.74 billion, an increase of 16.4% year-on-year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.