China will continue to be a long-term popular destination for foreign investment, and the country welcomes enterprises from other countries to expand their cooperation and investment, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday.
He made the statement when meeting with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing.
The premier congratulated Tesla for breaking ground on Monday for a new plant in Shanghai, which will be the first solely foreign-owned project in new energy vehicles, made possible after China removed equity share caps on foreign ownership. Li said the US company is expected to further participate in China's reform and opening-up and contribute to the stable development of China-United States relations.
Musk said he was impressed with China's rapid development and the efficiency in completing all procedures for opening an auto factory in Shanghai. He said the Tesla factory will be one of the most advanced in the world, and it will make products customized for the Chinese market for win-win outcomes.
The Tesla plant was one of seven foreign-involved projects begun in the past several months, said Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. Others include a new plant for German automaker BMW in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, and two petrochemical plants in Guangdong province－one solely owned by German company BASF SE and the other by Exxon-Mobil of the US.
A second series of large projects, focusing on new energy, will be promoted in the first quarter, with each costing billions to tens of billions of US dollars, Ning said.
In the next step, Ning said the recently updated 2018 editions of negative lists on foreign investment and free trade pilot zones will be carried out, while other barriers for foreign investors will be eliminated. A negative list shows areas where investment is prohibited; all other areas are presumed to be open.
China also is accelerating revisions on the catalog for guidance on industries for foreign investment and a catalog of industries advantageous for foreign investment in central and western China. Both will further encourage foreign investment, he said.