Business / Economy

Draft expected to ease investment access for foreign companies

By Zhong Nan and Zhu Zhe (China Dailiy) Updated: 2016-03-03 09:59

The Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that it plans to submit the draft of a foreign investment law to the National People's Congress, the country's legislative body, by the end of this year to further ease restrictions on foreign investors and grant them easier access to the Chinese market.

Among the ministry's priorities this year to put inflows of foreign direct investment on a firmer footing in China are measures to improve the domestic business environment, to adjust the industrial and regional development structure and to gain high-end technologies, Shen Danyang, the ministry's spokesman, told a news conference in Beijing.

Foreign direct investment in China rose last year by 6.4 percent year-on-year to $126.27 billion, according to ministry data. Foreign investment in the service industry rose by 17.3 percent, accounting for 61.1 percent of the flow.

"As China's economy is undergoing a structural adjustment and industrial boom, the ministry this year will encourage more foreign companies to invest in the country's environmental protection and modern service sector to assist the development of supply-side reform," said Shen.

Supply-side reform, a profound change in China's economic map, was underlined by the central government late last year. It includes a series of policies to improve public service, environmental protection, quality of production and further opening-up to the global economic system.

Even though merger activities reached 38 percent of total foreign direct investment globally last year, merger activities carried out by foreign companies amounted to $17.8 billion in China last year, up by 14 percent year-on-year but lower than the global level, data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development show.

Eager to diversify the country's earning ability, the government will also support the participation by foreign companies in China's ongoing State-owned enterprise reform via merger activities, Shen said. This would optimize the use of resources, staffing and market scope in these huge companies.

Wang Guoqing, spokesman for the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said China's business environment for foreigners has improved.

"The Chinese government is firmly determined to build an internationalized environment featuring the rule of law and facilitation for foreign investment," said Wang. "I believe China will continue to be the world's popular destination for investment, and profit can be made here."

Home Credit Group, a consumer finance provider from the Czech Republic that has registered capital of 3.3 billion yuan ($503.8 million) in the country, will increase the number of loan products and accelerate the development of online business in China to further diversify its operations.

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