Nation's moves bring big benefits for investors
A container ship docks in Qingdao Port, Shandong province, for unloading.[Photo by Zhang Jingang/for China Daily]
High-level openness in manufacturing, services sectors generates dividends
China's efforts to leverage high-level openness in financial, manufacturing and services sectors will continue to generate dividends for global companies and help attract more overseas capital this year, experts and business leaders said on Friday.
Rising above the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic recession, China's actual use of foreign direct investment surged 31.5 percent on a yearly basis to 176.76 billion yuan ($26.07 billion) in the first two months of this year, the Ministry of Commerce said.
China's services sector attracted 141.74 billion yuan of FDI during the two-month period, jumping 48.7 percent on a yearly basis, accounting for 80.2 percent of the country's total use of foreign investment.
With China continuing to reduce barriers to foreign investment and ensure the operation of the global supply chain, a series of policy measures such as encouraging investment in more industries, shortening negative lists for foreign investment and further expanding the free trade network will generate fresh impetus to attract foreign investment this year, said Hao Hongmei, deputy director of the foreign investment institute at Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.
"Since innovative, green and low-carbon products and solutions, including 5G, artificial intelligence, big data and new energy vehicles, will be the driving force of China's economic growth, we will turn all of our 23 plants in China into green factories and work with more local partners to push sustainable growth in the coming years," said Olivier Blum, chief strategy and sustainability officer of Schneider Electric SA, a French industrial conglomerate.
In line with China's new development paradigm, Chen Yudong, president for China operations at Robert Bosch GmbH, the German industrial giant, said innovations in key technologies are seen as important supporting factors for quality growth. Bosch will continue to invest in China and adhere to its "local for local" strategy and regard China as an important innovation hub for the group.
As China and its partners signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and the country completed the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with the European Union in principle in late 2020, these free trade deals will attract more foreign capital to China in the long run, said Wei Xiaoquan, a researcher specializing in regional economic development at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
During the first two months of this year, FDI from economies related to the Belt and Road Initiative, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union grew by 26.2 percent, 28.1 percent and 31.5 percent, respectively, on a yearly basis in China, data from the ministry showed.
China's effective control of COVID-19, followed by the quick economic recovery, has also helped the country to sign free trade agreements and promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment with more partners, he said.
Eager to enrich their business ties, China and Norway pledged to complete their bilateral free trade agreement negotiations as early as possible, the Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement on Friday.
The ministry said that chief negotiators from the two countries held a video conference regarding the China-Norway free trade agreement on Thursday.
The two sides have conducted in-depth meetings on issues including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, rules of origin, Customs procedures and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, dispute settlement and other areas. They have made more progress on the basis of existing consensus, according to the statement.
China and Norway believe that accelerating the pace of the bilateral free trade agreement talks will be meaningful and practical to jointly fight the COVID-19 pandemic, support free trade and multilateralism, strengthen economic and trade cooperation, restore economic growth, and maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, said the ministry.