China unveils shortened negative list for foreign investment

Author: BenCham Beijing

Chinese employee and his foreign colleague in a chemical company plant

China on Thursday unveiled a shortened negative list for foreign investment, with the number of items down to 48 from 63 in the previous version.

Jointly released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce, the new negative list will become effective on July 28, 2018.

The list, with the official name "Special Administrative Measures on Access to Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2018 Version)," will substitute a catalogue for guiding foreign investment revised in 2017.

The new list widens market access for foreign investment in primary, secondary as well as tertiary sectors, detailing 22 opening-up measures in fields including finance, transportation, professional services, infrastructure, energy, resources, and agriculture.

The number of items subject to special administrative measures on the new negative list was cut from 63 to 48, further reducing the scope of foreign investment approval, the NDRC said.

The new list also detailed a timetable for opening-up in the automobile and finance sectors, the commission said.

China marks the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening-up policy this year.

Making public the new negative list is an important move to implement the central authorities' arrangement for the opening-up strategy, relax market access to a great extent, and push forward high-level opening up, the NDRC said.

"The new round of opening-up will provide new impetus for attracting more foreign investment, promoting market competition and raising innovation capability," the commission said.

It will also push ahead high-quality development and deep-level reforms, make new ground in pursuing opening-up on all fronts, and give strong support to the development of economic globalization.

In recent years, China has reduced the number of restricted measures on foreign investment by nearly two-thirds, and also significantly reformed the approval system for foreign investment.

Under the negative list-based approach, fields not subject to the negative list are now administered by "filing for record" management.

"China's economic development is a process of actively integrating with economic globalization and constantly expanding its opening up," the NDRC said, adding that with better industrial, policy and legal environments, China has the foundation for opening up at a higher level.

The new opening-up measures will further deepen investment cooperation between China and other countries and regions, and facilitate more extensive capital, technology, management and personnel exchanges.

"In response to the trend of the times, China's active opening-up move is conducive to not only itself but also the whole world," the NDRC said.

The country hopes to work with other countries to create a more favorable environment for promoting economic globalization, according to the commission.

Material prepared by EU Sino Business Consulting (https://www.eusinobc.com/) and China Daily.