Business / Economy

EU chamber seeks fair business environment

By Zhong Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-10 07:35

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China on Tuesday urged the government to broaden its implementation of the decisions adopted at the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2013 and create a fair business environment.

Representing more than 1,800 European companies, the chamber released the 14th advocacy document, the European Business in China Position Paper 2014-15.

It emphasized that the decisions of the meeting were welcomed by European companies as a framework with which to address China's growing economic and societal issues, and as a transition to a fairer system, from exclusive to inclusive participation.

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Jorg Wuttke, president of the chamber, said China has sufficient firepower to create sustained medium-levels of growth for many years to come, if sustainable drivers of growth, based around services, added value, innovation and efficiency, are fostered now.

In the current global economic climate, many European companies have been setting more modest goals and revising down their investment plans for China. But the decisions of the Party meeting raised their hopes and expectations.

The chamber put forward 800 recommendations, such as suggestions on market access, the advancement of rule of law, the investment environment for foreign companies, as well as fiscal and State-owned enterprise reforms.

The chamber also called for equal treatment of European companies in China.

Wuttke said if these hopes are dashed, and they have to continue to operate in a discriminatory environment, not only will European companies likely temper their level of commitment to China and doubt their own ability to succeed, they also might doubt China's ability to succeed.

"This is because sustained growth going forward can only be achieved if China creates the environment in which market forces can fully play out," Wuttke said. "While China has a strong track record of managing its past economic challenges with better results than many had predicted, no country is invulnerable to systemic crises."

Nie Pingxiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said as China also is on a course of seeking new market growth points, the nation will definitely open up industries such as telecommunications, aviation, energy and banking, just not as quickly as the EU and United States have hoped.

"It will happen, but it must be a gradual process, since China is still exploring some of these industries in terms of the legal environment, market regulation and business models. The sudden opening of markets before China is ready will lead to chaos if regulations are not in place," Nie said.

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