See More on Facebook

Business, Economics

Foreign firms to get access to more sectors in China

Agriculture, mining, manufacturing, service sectors to be opened up, says state planner.


Written by

Updated: March 7, 2019

China’s state planner has said more opening measures will be introduced in the agriculture, mining, manufacturing and service industries, letting wholly foreign-owned firms operate in more sectors.

The “negative list” of industries that are off-limits to foreign investors will be further shortened, Mr Ning Jizhe, vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary meeting yesterday.

He stressed that foreign firms will be treated as equals with Chinese companies before and after they enter China.

“We are working with relevant departments and local governments… to ensure that standards for market access are consistent for both foreign and local firms,” he told reporters.

Foreign business groups in China have, over the years, complained of regulations and practices that favour Chinese firms. They say these help the local companies to gain an unfair advantage over their foreign counterparts.

Mr Ning said China promotes the fair treatment of foreign-funded enterprises in areas such as government procurement, standards setting, industrial policies, licensing and registration as well as fund-raising after they enter the country.

He added that China remains committed to facilitating foreign investments, especially in sectors such as new energy, advanced manufacturing, petrochemicals as well as electronics and information.

Mr Ning noted that this year’s annual meeting of lawmakers will review a draft foreign investment law, which clearly stipulates intellectual property rights protection for foreign investors and firms, and bans forced technology transfers through administrative means.

“This will certainly provide a more comprehensive and powerful rule of law guarantee for foreign investment rights,” he said.

Intellectual property thefts and forced technology transfers are some of the key sticking points in the ongoing trade war between China and the United States.

The draft law is expected to be passed at the closing of the annual parliamentary session in a little over a week. China has fast-tracked its passage in part to create favourable conditions to resolve the current trade stand-off with the US.

Other than citing the importance of foreign firms, Mr Ning also played up private enterprises’ role in contributing to China’s growth.

At the same briefing, NDRC chief He Lifeng said private enterprises contribute more than 50 per cent of the tax revenues, account for more than 60 per cent of the gross domestic product, and provide more than 70 per cent of technological innovations in the country.

They also create jobs for more than 80 per cent of urban residents and account for more than 90 per cent of the total number of companies in China.

Mr He stressed that top Chinese leaders fully support private firms, citing President Xi Jinping’s visit to private companies of all sizes during his trip to the north-eastern provinces as well as southern Guangdong province in September and October last year.

He said a key focus in the government’s work for this year is to help uplift private enterprises through heavy tax cuts, more lending for smaller firms, especially in obtaining loans for mid-to-long term investments, and also support to create a better business environment.

He added that he is confident that with such support, private firms, along with state-owned enterprises and foreign companies, will help provide stable growth for the economy this year.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business, Economics

S. Korean biz groups in emergency mode

Japan has ban the export of high tech materials to South Korea. South Korea’s major business groups are shifting to emergency mode, setting detailed contingency plans for a variety of scenarios amid concerns that the restrictions on exports of key tech materials from Japan to Korea could stay in place for a long time, according to the industry on Monday. The leaders of the country’s five biggest conglomerates — Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, LG Group and Lotte Group — are tightening their reins on the groups’ operations, bracing for possible ripple effects on the global economy and business environment as a result of Japan’s decision. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is spearheading an array of contingency plans. After coming back from a six-day trip to Tokyo last week, Lee convened a meeting with the top brass of the company’s semiconducto


By The Korea Herald
July 16, 2019

Business, Economics

Chinese economy grows at slowest rate in decades

Growth slumps to 27-year low in China, with talk of more aggressive stimulus measures. China’s economy grew 6.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year, its slowest rate in 27 years, as the country’s trade war with the United States exacted its toll. Analysts said they expect economic growth to continue to weaken for the rest of this year, which would likely prompt more aggressive stimulus measures from Beijing. Data released on Monday (July 15) by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that gross domestic product growth in the second quarter had slowed from 6.4 per cent in the first quarter of this year, coming in largely within expectations. The economy grew by 6.3 per cent for the first half of the year, according to the NBS. The figure is still within the 6 to 6.5 per cent target that Beijing has set for full year GDP growth. Last year, Chin


By The Straits Times
July 16, 2019

Business, Economics

China assures foreign firms amid tensions

Beijing says investments continue despite trade war. The Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday that there is no massive withdrawal of foreign investment from China, and vowed that the country will firmly protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign enterprises in the country. “We’ve noticed the concerns of some foreign enterprises, but based on our knowledge the country has not seen large-scale withdrawal of investment by foreign companies,” said ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a news briefing. His remark came amid media reports that said some foreign companies are considering moving out of China to avoid being adversely affected by the ongoing Sino-US trade conflict. “China will not suppress any foreign-funded enterprises and will not discriminate against any of them,” Gao said. “We will resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of all fo


By China Daily
July 15, 2019

Business, Economics

Japan sees decline in value-added trade surplus with Korea

Tokyo’s export curbs to negatively impact global economy due to correlated trade structure. Japan’s trade surplus in value-added goods and services (TiVA) with South Korea took a downturn during the 2005-2015 period, reflecting the diversifying structure of logistics and trade, statistics showed Sunday. In light of the interconnection of the global value chain, the country’s recent curbs on hi-tech exports to Korea are likely to affect not only the two countries but also the regional and global economy in general, Seoul’s government officials noted.\ According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Japan logged $135.2 billion in aggregated TiVA from 2005 to 2015. Its total trade surplus during the same period stood at $303.2 billion. TiVA, in international trade is equivalent to operating profits of corporate business transactions, figuring out the value added by eac


By The Korea Herald
July 15, 2019

Business, Economics

A quick primer on the Japan – Korea trade dispute

We answer your frequently asked questions about this ongoing trade dispute between South Korea and Japan. This week has seen a raising of the stakes in the ongoing dispute between Japan and South Korea that threatens to disrupt the global supply chain for smartphones and chips and futher devolve into an all-out trade war. Starting on July 4, Japan began tightening restrictions on the export of three semiconductor raw materials the country sells to South Korea. Japan effectively removed South Korea from a list of “white nations” that receive preferential trade treatment. Now, Japanese manufacturers must apply for approval for each individual shipment to South Korea with a review process that’s expected to take about 90 days. The Japanese side has maintained that this is not an embargo, but rather rather a review of trade con


By Quinn Libson
July 12, 2019

Business, Economics

Singapore growth lowest in decade

Singapore economy grows just 0,1%, is worse than expected. Singapore’s economy performed worse than expected in the second quarter, slowing again after hitting its lowest rate since the global financial crisis in the first three months of this year. Flash estimates by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) pegged Singapore’s economic growth at 0.1 per cent in the second quarter this year, much below analysts’ expectations of 1.1 per cent according to a Bloomberg forecast. This is the lowest growth since the economy contracted by 1.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2009 during the Great Recession. It is also a far cry from the revised 1.1 per cent growth in the previous quarter and marks the sixth straight quarter of easing. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy shrank by 3.4 per cent, after posting gr


By The Straits Times
July 12, 2019