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Wu Yi: China to go further than WTO promises
By Zhang Jin (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-09 00:46

Vice-Premier Wu Yi pledged Wednesday that China will further improve the investment environment to attract more foreign investors to fuel the country's brisk economic growth.

Speaking at the opening of the eighth China International Fair of Investment and Trade, which opened Wednesday in Xiamen, Fujian Province, Wu said the central government will intensify its efforts to encourage domestic companies to explore international markets.

Vice-Premier Wu Yi holds up a gold key to open the Eighth China International Fair of Investment and Trade in Xiamen of Fujian Province. The fair is known for serving overseas investors coming to China and Chinese businesses going abroad. [newsphoto]

"The Chinese Government encourages overseas companies to participate in China's drive of developing its west and Northeast, increase their investment in the high-tech and research sectors, establish more regional bases, and purchase centres and logistics centres in China," Wu said.

Remarkable achievements have been made over the past 26 years in attracting foreign investments thanks to China's efforts to improve its investment environment and open its markets wider to the outside world, said Wu.

China has simplified administrative processes and has slashed the amount of bureaucracy required to facilitate foreign investment in recent years, a move that greatly improved foreign investors' confidence, said Wu.

This progress accelerated after the nation joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late 2001, as China has fully stood by its WTO commitments in tariff-reduction, the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the opening of its service trade sector.

Wu pointed out that the nation has actually gone much further than its WTO commitments.

For example, "China moved ahead of the deadline in loosening controls over its foreign trading rights with the new Foreign Trade Law taking effect on July 1," she said.

And more efforts will be made to prevent the infringement of intellectual property rights (IPR), said Wu. Foreign investors have complained that rampant piracy and IPR violation in China are making it difficult for them to do business.

"The Chinese Government attaches great importance to IPR protection," said Wu.

"China's Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate are drafting legal interpretations concerning criminal penalties over IPR violations, said the vice-premier, adding these are expected to be published before the end of the year.

Until July, a total of more than 490,000 foreign-invested enterprises have been set up in China with actual investment of US$540 billion.

Among world's top 500 multinational corporations, more than 400 have invested in China. And 30 of them have set up regional bases in the country.

China has also witnessed the establishment of more than 600 foreign-invested research and development centres, which demonstrates that the country's ability to lure quality foreign funds has been greatly improved.

Meanwhile, the vice-premier also said it is equally important for Chinese companies to "go global," as economic globalization continues to gather pace.

"To encourage capable Chinese market to go out is an important policy of the Chinese Government," she said.

The move is of vital significance as the Chinese economy becomes increasingly integrated with the world market.

Backed by the central government, China's outward investment has increased by leaps and bounds, Wu said.

By 2003, Chinese companies had invested US$33.2 billion in 7,470 companies in more than 160 nations and regions.

The money goes to a diverse range of businesses including manufacturing, agro-processing, mining, project contracting, and research and development, instead of the traditional sectors such as foreign trade, shipping and catering.

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