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Reforms to further ease restrictions on foreign investment

By ZHANG YUNBI | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-24 05:22

China will ease restrictions on foreign investment, including a further opening-up in sectors such as services, manufacturing and mining, according to a news release issued after a key Party meeting on Tuesday.

A revised version of the Catalog for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries was approved at the Tuesday meeting of the Communist Party of China Central Committee's Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting, the 35th of its kind.

The move was made as utilization of foreign capital in the first four months of 2017 reached 286.4 billion yuan ($41.6 billion), a slight drop of 0.1 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. During the same period, China saw 9,726 new enterprises built with foreign investment, a year-on-year increase of 17.2 percent.

The country should press ahead with opening up priority areas by expanding the use of negative lists, according to the official release of the meeting. Negative lists are those where foreign investment is not permitted — other areas are understood to be open to investment.

This year's revision of the catalog is an important measure for advancing a new round of high-level opening up, the news release said. The goal is to maintain the continuity of the country's policy for encouraging foreign investment, it said.

The meeting also took up environmental policy, approving a pilot plan for transregional environmental protection bodies, such as in the region of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei province and adjacent areas. Such pilot plans should focus on tackling prominent air-quality and environmental problems, exploring the best ways to build transregional environmental protection bodies, and deepening coordination for jointly preventing and controlling pollution in such areas, the release said.

Unified planning, standards, evaluation, monitoring and law-enforcement should be achieved to shape a new landscape for governing the environment in the region.

Xi highlighted the significance of effectively implementing pilot plans for the overall reform of the country.

Brave steps and exploration are encouraged to generate more solutions that can work nationwide and thus boost reform in a broader sense.

The Tuesday meeting also approved a guideline regarding marine areas and uninhabited islands.

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