Beijing says it will make it easier for foreign companies to invest in China

China will reduce restrictions on foreign investment and reduce the difficulties faced by foreign companies investing in the country, the Commerce Ministry said, according to a transcript of an interview he gave to state media.

Trade Minister Zhong Shan said China would allow total foreign ownership of companies in more areas of the economy and reduce the number of industries in which foreign investment was restricted or barred, according to the transcript published on the Ministry of Commerce website on Sunday.

The comments seemed to be largely reiterations of past commitments by Chinese officials to the opening of the market.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China increased 3% over the previous year to $ 135 billion in 2018, Zhong said in the interview on Friday, according to Xinhua.

Trade Minister Zhong Shan comments on past remarks by Chinese officials. Photo: Simon Song

This would indicate a deceleration of 7,9% growth rates in 2017 and 4,1% in 2016.

But Zhong said that China maintained stable growth of the FDI "against a gloomy global climate", noting that total FDI worldwide dropped 41% in the first half of last year.

China's consumption of goods is expected to increase 9,1% from last year at 2018 to 38 trillion yuan ($ 5,62 trillion), Zhong said.

"The Chinese market has enormous potential and solid prospects," Zhong said. "China is marching towards the largest country of consumption of goods."

China has been struggling to expand the opportunities for private companies and foreign investors to stimulate an economy that is dwindling due to weakening domestic demand and a trade war with the United States.

Both sides held three days of vice-ministerial trade talks in Beijing last week.

He said other trade ministry priorities this year included holding the second import exhibition and advancing the free trade pilot areas and the Hainan free trade port.

Zhong said the Ministry of Commerce will push for the introduction of a foreign investment law as soon as possible, improve the handling of complaints from foreign companies and encourage foreign investment in manufacturing and high technology.

Source: South China Morning Post

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