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Rising FDI, openness herald improved business environment in nation

By Wang Huiyao | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-09 09:35

Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, Jan 7, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

Second, further improve the negative list system and optimize the foreign investment environment. This year's version of the national negative list for access to foreign investment has been reduced from 63 items to 33, and the negative list for access to foreign investment in the pilot free trade zones has been reduced from 190 items to 30. Against the backdrop of the prevalence of global trade protectionism, this fully demonstrates China's determination and action in opening-up to the outside world.

However, as China's introduction of the negative list has been in effect only for a short time, and the related institutional reform is still in the exploratory stage, China's current negative list management model still suffers from such problems as vacancies in the relevant legal system and inconsistency between industry classification and international standards.

On the basis of the existing negative list, further studies should be conducted to narrow down the negative list-such as allowing foreign investors to enter into new infrastructure projects, encouraging foreign-invested enterprises to cooperate with Chinese companies, especially in technological R&D and innovation, and jointly promoting innovation in "new infrastructure "projects.

Third, consider joining high-standard trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and actively expand multilateral cooperation. If China joins the CPTPP, the economic volume of the trading system could reach 28.3 percent of the world's total, making it a large market of nearly 1.9 billion people.

There is still a gap between China and the CPTPP, and China needs to take the initiative to seek convergence with CPTPP standards, strengthen intellectual property protection and improve its business environment. At the same time, China should continue to push forward the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).

Beijing and Tokyo should upgrade their investment pact, which will boost the progress on trilateral China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Area to deepen China's integration into the regional economic system.

Fourth, promote the construction and exploration of free trade zones and ports to attract foreign investment. China's 18 FTZs should give full play to their role as early and pilot tests of negative list management, which can be carried out in accordance with the characteristics and advantages of each FTZ. Foreign MNCs in the FTZs have more policy space and preferential conditions to carry out foreign trade and economic cooperation.

Also, on June 1, China released the master plan for Hainan free trade port. The "zero tariff" policy planned for the port is an important start, which can be followed by "zero subsidy" and "zero barrier" in the future.

On this basis, the "three zeros "policy can be implemented in the coastal free trade zones first, and eventually the successful experience can be extended to the inland areas, pushing the 18 FTZs to gradually develop toward "three zeros" trade in stages. With a simplified tax system and a strong rule of law, China's opening-up to the outside world will reach a new height, breadth and depth.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

The writer is the president of the Center for China and Globalization, a non-governmental think tank based in Beijing.

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