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Premier stresses probe benefits

2014-09-10 08:52 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday that recent anti-trust probes had not targeted specific firms or industries, and that foreign companies accounted for just 10 percent of those involved.

By cutting red tape and strengthening monitoring in the past year, China had tried to cultivate an easy, fair and competitive business climate, the premier told a group of business leaders ahead of the Summer Davos forum.

China has launched a series of investigations into major foreign names in recent years, the latest being anti-monopoly probes into Microsoft and Jaguar Land Rover. These had stirred unease among Western firms who perceived unfair treatment.

Apart from anti-trust investigations, China also cracked down on the theft of trade secrets, intellectual property rights infringement and counterfeiting, the premier said, stressing that these measures did not target particular firms. The amount of attention given to the investigations is a result of increasing transparency on the part of regulators.

The regulative measures China carried out, including the anti-monopoly probes, are in accordance with the law, transparent and fair, the premier stressed. It benefits China because more foreign firms and products will be more likely to enter the Chinese market if the environment is fair and competitive.

Klaus Kleinfeld, CEO of global aluminum producer Alcoa, attended the event and said he was reassured by Li's remarks.

"He described the rules apply to everyone," Kleinfeld said.

"The premier has emphasized very strong desire to push reforms and to make a level play field. I feel very welcome and so do the colleagues."

Li also highlighted the government's determination in reform while acknowledging difficulties. He said: "The course of reform will not run smooth, because it will stir the interests, just like short-term fluctuations in the Chinese economy. But we are determined."

Li noted that China's reform in the past years had been carried out in a step-by-step, unremitting and non-stop manner, and that the government had ramped up efforts to deepen reform since last year.

Responding to doubts whether promised reform had taken effect, Li cited the reform of corporate registration that saw the number of newly registered companies surge more than 60 percent year on year in the past six months.

He also highlighted the reform to streamline government administration.

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