Home World News China Economic Watch: Institutional opening up boosts attractiveness for foreign investors

Economic Watch: Institutional opening up boosts attractiveness for foreign investors

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As China beefs up efforts to expand institutional opening up and reduce restrictions on foreign investment, more opportunities will emerge for global investors to share in the dividends of China’s development, experts said.

In the third episode of the China Economic Roundtable hosted by Xinhua News Agency, government officials and the head of a private business shared opinions on China’s foreign trade and investment.

Zhang Wei, vice president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, said that institutional opening up aims to promote economic development by allocating resources to the process of opening up to the globe.

“Strengthening institutional opening up is a very effective way to promote the high-quality development of China’s economy, and it is also a very important form of support,” Zhang said.

In December 2023, China’s State Council issued a comprehensive plan to promote the high-level institutional opening up of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) by aligning it with high-standard international economic and trade rules.

A total of 80 measures covering seven areas were outlined in the plan, including initiatives to facilitate trade in goods and services, promote digital trade and enhance intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, among others.

Zhao Yugang, an official with the Shanghai FTZ management committee, said at the roundtable that institutional opening up serves as reassurance for foreign investors.

The comprehensive plan allows overseas importers and producers to apply for customs pre-ruling in the Shanghai FTZ, which provides policy support for further enhancing the predictability of trade activities, Zhao said.

“The IPR protection system for goods in transit mentioned in the plan provides a guarantee for the development of trade activities of a wider scope and at a higher level,” according to Zhao.

China’s high-standard opening up is based on its massive market and integrated industrial system. China’s per capita GDP has exceeded 12,000 U.S. dollars and the country boasts the world’s largest middle-income population of over 400 million, which is constantly growing.

In the meantime, China is the only country that has all the industrial categories listed by the United Nations and its industrial advantages are unmatched by other countries.

China’s opening-up advantage has changed from low cost to cost-effectiveness, not only because of the large scale of China’s market, but also because the big market delivers innovative scenarios to enterprises, Zhang noted.

“Because China has a more inclusive management style, the advantages of its innovative scenarios are actually difficult to find on a global scale,” Zhang said.

From the perspective of the Shanghai FTZ, Zhao said that he has felt the confidence of multinationals in China’s super-large market during his communication with them.

In the first 11 months of last year, 48,078 new foreign-invested firms were set up across China, an increase of 36.2 percent year on year, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.

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