Market liberalization big pull for investors

2024-03-26 08:24:40China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Biz-friendly climate, fewer curbs, expanded access in spotlight at event

China's continuous efforts to tap into the country's domestic demand, open its doors even wider and foster an enabling business climate will provide greater trade and investment opportunities for enterprises around the globe, senior officials and global CEOs said on Monday.

China's market liberation efforts are gaining momentum as the country continues to slash restrictions and expand access for foreign investment, said Guo Tingting, vice-minister of commerce, at the two-day China Development Forum, which kicked off in Beijing on Sunday.

"China will fully guarantee equal and nondiscriminatory treatment for foreign companies so that more foreign companies can invest in China with confidence and peace of mind," Guo said.

Concrete steps are being taken to completely lift market access restrictions for foreign investors in the manufacturing sector, while expanding openness in sectors like telecommunications and healthcare, Guo said. He mentioned the recent introduction of the negative list for cross-border trade in services as an example, a move set to significantly enhance the openness of the country's service sector.

With an annual per capita disposable income approaching 40,000 yuan ($5,556), China has nurtured a middle-income group of over 400 million people, the largest and fastest-growing such cohort in the world. This group presents a significant demographic opportunity for businesses seeking exponential growth, Guo said.

"China is a huge, extraordinarily sophisticated market of opportunity where we innovate locally in China for China and the rest of the world," said Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of food and beverage company Danone.

"We have huge confidence that not only growth will continue in China, but also that China will contribute to the growth of the world. If China doesn't grow, the world wouldn't either."

China's potential for further growth extends beyond consumer spending. The country is actively engaged in new urbanization initiatives, promoting advanced manufacturing, and driving green and low-carbon transformations. These efforts are set to unlock enormous demand in various sectors, Vice-Minister Guo said.

Furthermore, the country is actively constructing a higher-level open economic system, focusing on institutional openness while vigorously promoting its participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement, Guo said.

In particular, China has been taking big strides toward fostering a world-class, market-oriented business climate governed by a sound legal framework, with concrete steps to resolving concerns facing foreign businesses like cross-border data flows, equal participation in government procurement, and facilitating the work and life of foreign employees in China, Guo said.

A week ago, the General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued the most recent action plan to steadily promote high-standard opening-up and make greater efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment.

China's commitment to promoting openness and improving its business environment is significantly enhancing its appeal to businesses, prompting them to actively invest in the country, said Ola Kallenius, chairman of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

In a fiercely competitive arena like China, successfully maintaining competitiveness often translates to success in other global markets as well, Kallenius said. Mercedes-Benz, he said, recognizes the immense potential and opportunities the Chinese market presents, and hence has substantially increased its research and development investments in China in recent times.

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