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Nation offers all investors greater business access

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-23 02:55
File photo: the central business district of Beijing. [Photo/IC]

China is opening more industries for both domestic and foreign investors with the release of its new and shortened negative list for market access, the country's top economic regulator said on Friday.

The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce on Friday jointly released the updated list for 2019 on Friday. The new list now comprises 131 items, down from 151 in the 2018 version, clearly demonstrating the country's continued willingness to deepen the reforms and open up its economy, officials said.

The NDRC said the new list will ease market access to a number of sectors, including the establishment of nursing homes and social welfare institutions, to further relax market barriers and boost market vitality. It also includes newly established access measures such as registration of initial public offerings on the science and technology innovation board.

A negative list indicates areas where investment is prohibited or restricted; all other areas are presumed to be open. Experts said the updated list will help create a better business environment and foster high-quality development.

Guo Liyan, a researcher at the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the NDRC, said the updated list not only demonstrates China's willingness to further promote supply-side structural reforms but also shows efforts to foster a better business climate and improve the modern market system.

"Facing the increasing uncertainties from both at home and abroad, the key is to focus on our own missions," Guo added. "The market access negative list system is a key part of the modern market system, an important practice to foster a strong domestic market, and it is significant to keeping investments and expectations stable. Revising the negative list is in line with the need to cope with the economic and social situation."

Unlike the negative list for foreign investment market access released in June, the unified list applies to all market players, including both domestic and foreign investors.

"For industries not on the negative list, foreign investors are given treatment equal to that of domestic Chinese investments," said Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.

The new list further reduces the scope of needed investment approvals, Mei said.

"It will be a key measure to further deepen reforms and improve the market economy structure," said Chen Yuyu, an economics professor at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management.

Chen said the shortened list not only will help relax market barriers and help give full play to the decisive role of the market in allocating resources, but also improve the role of the government in serving market players and citizens.

"We need to fully awaken different people's and institutions' energy and creative power, encouraging both market competition and cooperation," Chen added. "The government needs to adopt a more flexible and indirect way to boost high-quality economic development, shifting the focus to providing public services."

Chinese economy is now transitioning from a phase of rapid development to a new stage of high-quality development, paying more attention to further optimizing the business environment and opening up its economy.

On Friday, the National Bureau of Statistics unveiled the country's revised GDP for 2018. The GDP was 91.9 trillion yuan ($13 trillion) in 2018, an increase of 1.9 trillion yuan compared with the earlier, preliminary accounting.

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