Wang Wen: China commits to freedom for trade, investment


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Wang Wen: China commits to freedom for trade, investment


Source: Global Times    Published: 2016-9-6

China is committed to advancing the freedom of global trade and investment and hopes that not just China but also Western countries expand access for foreign investment, experts noted Tuesday.

The comments came after President Xi Jinping`s opening address at the Business 20 (B20) summit in Hangzhou, East China`s Zhejiang Province, on Saturday, when he stated that "we will continue to be fully involved in economic globalization and support the multilateral trading regime. We will expand access for foreign investment, facilitate such investment to promote fair and open competition and create a sound business environment."

Xi also noted that China would accelerate negotiations on free trade agreements and investment treaties with relevant countries and the development of high-standard pilot free trade zones at home.

"President Xi accurately raised the alarm on the need to counter the increase in protectionism around the world; but actions speak louder than words and the ball is in China`s court to implement its own needed domestic reforms and to provide greater market access for foreign goods, services and technology," James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, was quoted as saying in a statement sent to the Global Times on Tuesday.

Calls to utilize innovation as an economic driver are indeed well-taken but should reflect policies that encourage an environment that promotes fair, market-driven innovation that is open to all market participants, and not just a few domestic champions, according to Zimmerman.

"Given that protectionism on trade and investment prevails in the world market, President Xi`s remarks suggest that the US and countries and regions in Europe, not just certain enterprises and local governments in China, are expected to be more open to foreign capital," Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

More talks among China, the US and European countries on trade and investment will need to be held, he said.

China is committed to promoting the global guidelines for investment and trade released during the G20 Hangzhou summit and the country is determined to boost freedom for trade and investment, Wang noted.

Reciprocal openness

On Thursday the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) released a position paper calling for reciprocity in openness for foreign capital.

China`s top legislature on Saturday revised four laws regulating inbound investment, with an easing of rules for foreign and Taiwanese investors looking to start businesses in the Chinese mainland, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

In a statement posted on their website on Saturday, the EUCCC said the revisions to the four Chinese investment-related laws were not bold enough and that it is preferable for foreign and domestic investment to instead be regulated by the same Company Law, regardless of the nationality of the equity.

"The complaint filed by the EU lobby is biased…European enterprises now feel tougher competition from Chinese companies as their overwhelming advantages in technology over Chinese companies have gradually waned," Wang said.

In fact, there are many restrictions that European countries pose on Chinese capital, such as restrictions related to investment and acquisitions in sectors like telecommunications and high technology as well as labor standards, he noted.

Resolve to reform

China is determined to further boost its opening-up and devote itself to moving forward with its own structural reforms in a bid to meet the challenges of a slowing economy and problematic overcapacity, according to experts.

"China`s reform has entered the deep water zone where tough challenges must be met. We have the resolve to make painful self-adjustments and tackle problems that have built up over many years," President Xi said at the B20 summit.

The country will continue to carry out supply-side structural reform, resolve major problems in economic development and improve the performance of the supply system by optimizing factors allocation and adjusting industrial structure, Xi said.

"But the reforms are not easy and the most difficult issue lies in the reallocation of interest," noted Wang.

"China has recognized the hardship and is ready to tackle the challenges," he said.