World Economy

China Vows to Open Up Economy

New housing complex constructions are continuing.New housing complex constructions are continuing.

Beijing has pledged to open up more economic sectors to foreign investment, an official statement said, as foreign chambers of commerce complain of a worsening business environment in the country.

China will “unwaveringly insist on the opening-up policy” and “create fair competition environment by treating foreign and domestic funds as the same”, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said in a statement late Thursday after a meeting hosted by Premier Li Keqiang, AFP reported.

Foreign direct investment in China is estimated to reach $113 billion this year, China’s Ministry of Commerce said Monday, lower than the total of $135.6 billion last year.

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China has complained of an “unequal investment landscape” in the country and called for it to drop widescale prohibitions on foreign investment.

China will allow foreign firms to operate fully-owned subsidiaries, rather than joint ventures, in sectors including rail transportation equipment and motorcycles, the statement said.

It will also let them enter fields including auditing and architectural design for the first time.

Foreign companies will be given the same treatment as Chinese firms in terms of capital required to set up shops, products purchased by the government, and preferential policies for high-tech enterprises, it added.

Beijing has repeatedly pledged to make its economy more responsive to market forces.

But China ranked 84th globally—behind Saudi Arabia and Ukraine—in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index for 2016, and second to last in an OECD report on restrictiveness towards foreign investment.

The country is trying to stem capital outflows with its yuan currency falling and its vast foreign exchange reserves dropping eight percent from January to November.

“At present, China’s economic and financial operations are generally stable, but the complexity of the situation cannot be underestimated,” the People’s Bank of China said.

Bank lending is on pace to top 2015’s record 11.71 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion), helping to stoke a housing boom that saw prices rise a historic 12.6% year-on-year in November, while fixed asset investment by state firms is growing more than 20%.

But growth has become more imbalanced this year as the effectiveness of new credit declines and companies and individuals face mounting debts, economists say.

In the financial markets, China’s blue-chip stock index ended the year more than 11% lower while the Chinese yuan plumbed an 8-1/2 year low.

Primary money rates rose this week and were largely higher this year, driven by the PBOC’s tighter liquidity stance in the second half aimed at taming risks.

The key interbank rate rose more than 25 basis points for the year, indicating tighter monetary conditions, after falling sharply in 2015.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints