Negative list for market access to be further shortened

China will continue to shorten the negative list for market access this year, as part of the country’s ongoing efforts to optimize its business environment and introduce greater opening-up, according to analysts. The government’s intensified efforts to revise the nationwide negative list show the authorities' determination to expand market access and build an efficient, fair and unified domestic market, they said, which will also help inject new impetus into the economy and foster high-quality development in the long run. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) unveiled the latest draft version of the negative list for market access on October 8. The draft list for 2021 indicates areas where investment is prohibited or restricted, while all other areas are presumed to be open. It now comprises 117 items, compared with 123 in the 2020 version.

The NDRC posted the full text of the draft negative list online to seek public opinion from October 8 to 14. Pang Chaoran, Researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said the draft is part of the country’s ongoing efforts to continuously deepen reforms and expand opening-up. Pang said a unified negative list for market access in all regions will help China build a high-standard market system that is open and competitive, providing a driving force for high-quality development. “More efforts are also needed to continuously implement the commitment to “one list for the whole country” and relax market access in fields such as services and consumption,” he said.

China revised the negative list for market access for three consecutive years in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and the number of items on the list has been reduced by nearly one-fifth. “Continuously shortening the nationwide negative list is key to fostering high-quality development over the long run,” said Cui Weijie, Deputy Director of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Leading executives of multinational companies have also expressed their confidence in China’s market, while speaking highly of the country’s continued efforts to improve the business environment. Samson Khaou, Executive Vice President of Dassault Systèmes Asia-Pacific, said the French industrial software company has been dedicated to the China market over the past decade and will expand its investment in China over the next five years. Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s leading processor, marketer and exporter of meat products, is also looking to continuously increase its investment in China. “Seeing the Chinese market’s rising growth potential and local people's growing need for red meat, we’re confident about our future growth in the China market,” Alex Wang, Silver Fern Farms’ Manager for China said, as reported by the China Daily.