The authorities on Jan 6 moved to lure more direct foreign investment, with one minister announcing that international companies would be entitled to participate in bidding for government procurement contracts－as long as their products are made in China.
Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen told a news conference in Beijing that the government had noticed that China’s ability to attract foreign direct investment had in recent years been challenged by a number of factors, such as the cost advantages of domestic production.
Additionally, nearby countries have been initiating their own moves to entice more foreign investment to their shores.
“Some neighboring countries have already begun to offer more favorable policies to gain FDI to compete with China,” he said.
“Many developed countries are also encouraging their manufacturing businesses to move back to their home markets to boost jobs and taxes.”
Wang’s comments follow the State Council’s approval of a document last month that aims to make the process for foreign direct investment more direct, fair, open and efficient.
The document outlined measures required to give foreign capital more market access to the country’s services sector－including account auditing, financial institutions, share brokerages, fund management, telecommunications, internet, culture and education－as well as opening up opportunities in rail transportation, one of the pillar manufacturing sectors, to stimulate market competition.
Wang said international companies can still remit their revenues overseas or add new investments anytime. He said China’s recent moves to tighten controls on capital flows was only targeting illegal activities and was temporary.
Profits earned by international groups based on the Chinese mainland－as well as companies from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in the manufacturing sector－grew by 10.8 percent on a year-on-year basis to reach 1.5 trillion yuan ($216.78 billion) between January and November in 2016.
Li Guo, vice-minister of the General Administration of Customs, said customs will further simplify port clearance procedures. He said it will also encourage more innovation of trade processing and more special customs control areas, to support both China’s FDI and foreign trade activities.
Li said the central government is also allowing local government to offer new policies to attract FDI, within their statutory powers, based on their own economic development characteristics.