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Tighter control won't impede FDI flow
By Dai Yan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-31 00:37

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce says it believes that tighter control on foreign investment in selected industries will not have a big impact on foreign investment inflows.

Vice-Minister of Commerce Yu Guangzhou says the scale of attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) has been expanded and the structure to facilitate it has been further optimized despite the control measures.

The ministry has taken a series of macro-control measures, including more stringent examination and approval of foreign-invested projects in overheating sectors, straightening out development zones and curbing blind investment in commercial areas, Yu says.

But actual FDI to China still reached US$33.9 billion in the first six months, up by 12 per cent, said Yu. He says he is satisfied with the growth rate.

And FDI in high-tech sectors has increased significantly, he said.

Contractual foreign investment in specific equipment, general equipment and computer and communications equipment, the three major manufacturing sectors in high-tech industry, increased by 195, 75 and 73 per cent respectively in the first half.

The number of foreign-invested research and development centres in China has passed 600.

Foreign direct investment for the year will be about US$50 billion.

"To that end, we will try our best to improve the efficiency of our work, when carrying out tighter control on overheated investment," Yu said.

Yu said China's trade for 2004 is expected to rise 20 per cent from 2004 and top US$1 trillion, after growing 39.1 per cent to US$522.9 billion in the first six months of the year.

Yu said that frequent trade restrictions against China were hurting commerce and resulting in unfair treatment for Chinese enterprises in the international market.

Those against textiles, particularly, were a big headache.

Yu said members of the World Trade Organization should play by rules and eliminate textile quotas before the set deadline of January 1, 2005.

"The quota elimination is one of the most important agreements of the Uruguay Round of WTO talks and we should keep to it," Yu said.

Some 90 textile trade associations around the world have been campaigning for months to have the WTO consider the negative impact the end of quotas will have on nations around the world and have been trying to delay the elimination.

They are also lobbying their governments to make formal requests to the WTO for convening an emergency meeting over the impact of the textile liberalization.

Fu Ziying, assistant minister of commerce, said China is going on with its process for recognition of market economy status, which is applied to cost determination in anti-dumping cases.

China and the United States have begun work on the issue, he said.

The two countries agreed to set up a working panel after the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in April this year.

"The US attitude is decisive whether market economy status can be granted to China this year," Fu said.

Yu said he thought the country's outward investment this year would exceed US$2 billion.

Full-year retail sales are forecast to grow by over 10 per cent to 5 trillion yuan (US$603 billion) compared with 4.58 trillion yuan (US$553 billion) in 2003.

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