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Chinese official urges US to clarify foreign investment policy
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A senior Chinese official on Wednesday urged the United States to clarify the range of sectors where investment by foreign firms might be required to undergo scrutiny.


Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice minister of China's National Development and Reform Commission, urged the U.S. government to clarify the definition of "national security", which it said was its main reason for tightening checks on investors.


Zhang cited the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007, which became effective in the United States in October, saying it had brought an uncertainty to China's future investment in the country.


The act intensified "security" checks over foreign investment in key infrastructure projects and the high-tech industry, and also strengthened examination of foreign state-owned enterprises, he said on the sidelines of the ongoing Third China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED).


Chinese companies aiming to invest in the United States were facing unclear prospects, considering the structure of their ownership and their major fields of focus, he said.


"We think that the U.S. policies and regulations should not show an evident discrimination against Chinese enterprises that plan to invest in the country," he said.


He also suggested that China and the United States set up a mechanism to inform each other of important changes in investment policies and major investment projects.


Special officials should be designated to take charge of the mechanism, exchange ideas about policy alterations or investment projects, and notify domestic enterprises of important information, he said.


Each side, if requested, should explain its laws and regulations related to the investment projects of interest to the other side, he said.


He hoped the two sides could increase dialogues to create a better environment for investors of both sides.


Companies from the two countries were keen to cooperate in the chemical, medical, mechanical, space and electronic fields, and it was necessary for the governments to create a good investment environment, he added.


(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2007)

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