SCIO press conference on commerce work, operations in H1 2023

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Macau Monthly:

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) offered an analysis of global multinational investment in its recent report. What is your take on the trend of China's attractiveness to foreign investment in the second half of 2023? What measures will be taken to attract and make use of foreign investment? Thank you.

Zhu Bing:

Thank you for your questions. As you noted, the UNCTAD report indicates that global multinational investment declined by 12% last year, with further downward pressure being projected for this year. The external environment for attracting investment is severe as global investment is experiencing a downturn, and competition for investment introduction is becoming increasingly intense. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the fundamentals of the Chinese economy, characterized by its strong resilience, enormous potential, and long-term growth, remain unchanged. China's vast open market presents numerous opportunities for foreign enterprises. Our overall advantages in attracting investment, created by a complete industrial system, impeccable infrastructure, abundant human resources, and a continuously improving business environment, are constantly being reinforced. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, we are both determined and confident in our ability to successfully attract and utilize foreign investment this year. We will coordinate with all localities and government departments, prioritizing the following four aspects of work.

First, we will push for a higher standard of opening up. The negative list for foreign investment access will be appropriately shortened, and restrictions will be either eased or removed entirely. To advance the comprehensive pilot program for service sector opening, we will implement a number of trial measures, drawing on the rules, regulations, standards, and management models stipulated in high-standard economic and trade agreements, thereby steadily advancing the institutional opening of the sector. We will also revise the Measures for Strategic Investment by Foreign Investors in Listed Companies to further relax restrictions in this area.

Second, we will strengthen policy support for foreign investment. MOFCOM has directed localities to conscientiously implement special policies for foreign-invested research and development centers, foreign investment in manufacturing, and the catalog of encouraged foreign investment industries. More foreign investment has been directed toward advanced manufacturing, with its introduction to high-tech manufacturing increasing by 28.8% in the first half of 2023. While diligently implementing existing policies, we will redouble efforts to address foreign enterprises' common calls for fair competition, trade facilitation, and supply of production factors. New policies and measures will be adopted to enhance the business environment and attract foreign investment. We will collaborate closely with all localities and government departments to ensure effective policy implementation and bolster foreign enterprises' sense of gain. 

Third, we will continue to host the Year of Investment Promotion series of activities. As I just said, in the first half of the year, we organized 14 major events, effectively promoting our investment environment and policies, encouraging multinational companies to better understand and invest in China. In the second half of this year, we plan to host nine key events in conjunction with major economic and trade exhibitions. This includes a Year of Investment Promotion keynote forum during the China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT), a specialized session for the service industry at the CIFTIS, a dedicated promotion for China's central region during the Expo Central China, and a Year of Investment Promotion summit during the CIIE. We hope these events can bolster local governments in attracting investments, fostering project collaborations, and bringing in more promising foreign investment projects for China.

Fourth, we will elevate the level of service support for foreign investment. This year, we have fully utilized the foreign trade and investment coordination and service mechanism, and the specialized team for key foreign investment projects, strengthened regular exchanges with foreign-funded enterprises and foreign business associations, and upgraded and established a roundtable conference system for foreign-funded enterprises to carry out multiple forms of exchange activities at various levels. Recently, Minister Wang Wentao has presided over roundtable meetings with foreign-funded enterprises in the pharmaceutical industry and Japanese enterprises, listening to their feedback and addressing their concerns. Next, we will continue to leverage the roundtable system and develop it into an vital platform for the Chinese government to connect with, serve and support foreign-invested enterprises. Should any enterprise encounter difficulties or problems related to their investment or operations, they can directly contact the designated team for foreign investment under MOFCOM.

Thank you.

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