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Li says steps will broaden market access

By Xu Wei in Dalian, Liaoning | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-07-03 08:56
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Premier Li Keqiang and Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, attend the opening ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2019, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, in Dalian, Liaoning province, on Tuesday. [Photo by WU ZHIYI/CHINA DAILY]

Premier also promises support for foreign investment in range of sectors

Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China's commitment to expand opening-up to foreign investment as he announced a string of measures on Tuesday to broaden market access, including steps to scrap limits for financial companies one year earlier than planned.

"China will become increasingly open, transparent and predictable to foreign investment, and its overall trade investment will be better and better," Li said at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, Liaoning province.

The event, also known as the Summer Davos Forum, attracted more than 1,800 delegates from over 100 countries - representing government, business, civil society, academia and the arts, according to the WEF.

China will allow full foreign ownership of securities companies, futures businesses and life insurance companies by 2020, and will broaden market access for foreign investment in sectors such as telecommunications services and transportation, he said.

Li also pledged support to foreign investment in electronics, equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and new materials and its flow to middle and western regions of China, with favorable conditions set to be offered in equipment imports, corporate tax and land supply.

Foreign institutions will be offered national treatment in credit reference, credit ratings and payment, and the two-way opening-up of the securities market will be expanded, he said.

He vowed that China will take the initiative to further reduce the overall level of tariffs and reduce nontariff barriers as part of efforts to expand imports in goods and services.

"In this process, we will maintain the exchange rate of yuan at a reasonable and balanced level," he said, adding that the country will not resort to competitive devaluation of its currency.

The government will also come up with regulations that are in line with the foreign investment law, which will take effect next year, he said.

Li also defended the rules-based multilateral trade system with the World Trade Organization at its core, which he said is the cornerstone for economic globalization and free trade and must be respected and safeguarded.

China supports necessary reform to the WTO, but the basic rules of free trade, which promote opening-up and growth, cannot waver, he said.

The premier also assured business leaders that the country will adopt stronger measures to protect intellectual property rights, with a system of punitive compensation for IP infringements set to be enforced to crack down on various types of wrongdoings.

Li conceded that the Chinese economy is facing fresh downward pressure, with increasing factors of uncertainty and instability from outside and sluggish domestic investment.

However, he expressed confidence in the growth potential of the economy.

"China has more than 100 million market entities and about 1.4 billion people. There is a huge market behind the improvement in public livelihood and the upgrading of consumption," he said.

He underscored the importance of good interaction between economic growth and improvement in life standards so that the potential of consumption can be unleashed.

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