Vice-Premier Han Zheng (center) attends the opening of the annual China Development Forum in Beijing on March 24, 2019. (Photo/China Daily by Wang Zhuangfei)
China will speed up the opening of sectors including telecommunications, education and healthcare as part of broader efforts to further expand reform, Vice-Premier Han Zheng said on Sunday in Beijing.
The country will continue to shorten the negative list for foreign investment and allow wholly foreign-funded businesses to operate in more sectors, Han said in a speech at the opening of the annual China Development Forum.
He pledged that the country will make unwavering efforts to develop a world-class business environment and encourage foreign businesses to conduct research, development and innovation in China.
"We will step up our efforts for IPR protection as well as law enforcement in various aspects, and establish a system of punitive punishment for IPR infringement to significantly raise the cost of violating the law," he said.
He also emphasized that more efforts will be made to improve the transparency and predictability of policies, adding that businesses of various types registered in China will be offered the same treatment in government procurement programs so that foreign businesses can enjoy better development in China.
The country will further expand its 12 pilot free trade zones and support Hainan province to develop itself into a free trade port step by step, he said.
Ning Jizhe, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the forum that China will deepen the opening of the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors.
He said that the nation will speed up building an index system to evaluate its business environment based on international standards, adding that such a system will be piloted in some provinces and cities this year and be fully implemented nationwide next year.
China is one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment, and foreign direct investment hit $135 billion last year, he noted.
Director of the OECD Directorate for Financial and Enterprise Affairs Greg Medcraft said China has adopted measures to encourage free trade, and free trade has traditionally driven economic growth worldwide.
"What is amazing about China is that now they are into the next phase of development and they are thinking about how they can be more efficient by having more private sector competition against the SOEs (State-owned enterprises)," he said.