Premier Li Keqiang promised a level playing field for both domestic and overseas enterprises while meeting with Darren Woods, CEO and chairman of ExxonMobil, in Beijing on Sept 7.
ExxonMobil discussed a $10 billion exclusively funded petrochemical project in South China’s Guangdong province with the Chinese side.
Premier Li said that a thriving two-way investment mode between China and the United States is conducive to both parties, the stable development of the global economy, and growth in international trade. Nations around the globe should join hands to safeguard free and convenient trade, as well as investment.
China is a huge market where investors can get a fair and reasonable return, the Premier added.
ExxonMobil regards this investment as an important step toward its long-term cooperation with China, Woods said, adding that the company appreciates recent moves by the Chinese government in opening-up, business environment optimization and protection of intellectual property rights.
These measures will help China realize its development goals, and provide broad opportunities for ExxonMobil and other foreign enterprises, he said.
“The Chinese government will adopt a stricter intellectual property protection system. If foreign companies encounter infringements of intellectual property rights in China, they can complain to relevant departments or to the State Council directly. We will crack down on them according to law with severe punishments,” Premier Li assured the foreign guests.
It will protect not only the legitimate rights and interests of foreign-funded enterprises, but also the enthusiastic Chinese science and technology personnel, thus promoting transformation and upgrading of the Chinese economy, the Premier added.
“Competition is welcomed and we will grow better from that,” Woods responded when learning of the 10 billion-euro investment from BASF Group of Germany to construct a fine chemical integrated base in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province.
Competition creates a fair market, which incubates advanced enterprises, the Premier concluded, saying that it is the responsibility of the Chinese government to provide a level playing field and continuously optimize the business environment for all types of enterprises.
China hopes that US enterprises, including ExxonMobil, will make an active move to expand their investment in this country, and mirror China’s reform and opening-up and development to the world with an objective and fair voice.
China will further deepen reform and expand opening-up, provide more convenience for foreign companies to invest in China, and remain an ideal place for foreign investment, the Premier said.
ExxonMobil is willing to boost China’s manufacturing with world-leading technologies and efficient products, and conduct more long-term cooperation, Woods said, showing confidence in the project.