China will take a number of measures to eliminate hidden barriers affecting foreign investment access, aiming to ensure equal access for both domestic and foreign capital in sectors not included in the negative list in accordance with the law, said the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday.
Speaking at a weekly news conference in Beijing, Shu Jueting, the ministry's spokeswoman, said that the government will completely remove restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector and expand market access for global capital in the modern services sector.
A negative list refers to specific areas or sectors where foreign investors are not allowed to operate. They can operate in areas not appearing on the list.
Despite the inflow of foreign investment declining on a yearly basis during the first nine months, Shu said that the total amount in this category still remained at a relatively high level over the past decade.
"In particular, the number of newly established foreign-funded enterprises had grown rapidly, confirming the enduring enthusiasm of such companies for long-term investments in China," said the spokeswoman. "We are confident of the ongoing positive progress of attracting foreign investments."
Shu said the ministry will work with other government branches to introduce corresponding detailed regulations to local governments to guarantee the effective implementation of various policies, providing foreign enterprises with a greater sense of accessibility, after China unveiled 24 targeted measures to boost foreign capital inflows in mid-August.
As the sixth edition of the China International Import Expo will be held offline from Sunday to Nov 10 in Shanghai, Shu said that preparations for this grand event are almost complete. Guests from more than 150 countries, regions and international organizations will attend the expo. Within the pavilions, products from 72 countries and international organizations will be displayed.
The enterprise exhibition segment has drawn participation from more than 3,400 companies representing 128 countries and regions. It now covers a record-breaking exhibition area of 367,000 square meters, featuring the largest presence of Fortune Global 500 companies, industry leaders and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises compared to previous editions, the ministry said.
Apart from being a key avenue for foreign firms to launch new products, technical solutions and services, the upcoming CIIE will be an advanced platform to showcase China's support for economic globalization and its resolve to further open its markets to the outside world, said Wang Wen, executive dean of Renmin University of China's Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.
This will send an exceptionally favorable message to foreign enterprises, Wang said.
Since the beginning of this year, numerous multinational company executives have repeatedly shown a strong interest in coming to China. They have engaged in discussions with business partners and held meetings with Chinese officials.
For instance, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with Tim Cook, CEO of US tech giant Apple Inc, and Severin Schwan, board chairman of Swiss healthcare company Roche Holding AG in Beijing in mid-October, encouraging foreign firms to share in the benefits of the Chinese market and achieve mutual development.