‘Made in China 2025’ doesn’t exclude foreign firms

By Shen Weiduo Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/20 22:23:41

China won’t abandon key strategy

A worker at a transformer production line in Haian, East China's Jiangsu Province Photo: VCG

Accusations about the "Made in China 2025" strategy are unfair and China will definitely stick to the strategy in the coming years, potentially offering new opportunities for foreign companies in advanced industries, analysts said on Wednesday.

The comment came after the European Chamber's Business Confidence Survey claimed that the "Made in China 2025" strategy is "tilting the playing field in favor of Chinese players," and 43 percent of its 532 respondents stated that they "have seen increasing discrimination under the plan."

The survey was released by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China and Roland Berger Strategy Consultants on Wednesday.

Wang Jun, deputy director of the Department of Information at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said the claim is totally unfair and reflects a misunderstanding of China's "Made in China 2025" strategy, which is necessary and significant for its aim to shift from a manufacturing country to an advanced industrialized nation, similar to Germany's "Industry 4.0."

"China has the right to develop its core technology, which no one should criticize, and we will definitely stick to it," Wang said.

The survey said, "The onus is now on China to further expand opportunities for foreign companies to clearly demonstrate that it is not just aimed at achieving domestic dominance in the ten key industries identified by the plan."

"European firms hold a comparative advantage, particularly in sectors such as automobiles and machinery, which are also on the list of key areas China is going to promote, so they may see opportunities, as well as challenges, in the process," Zhao Junjie, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of European Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

For the first time, a majority of respondents said that they considered Chinese companies to be equally or more innovative compared to European firms, an increase of 14 percentage points year-on-year, the survey said.

However, Zhao said Chinese companies are still learning from their EU counterparts in some areas, not only in the manufacturing industry such as automaking, but also in ecological agriculture and even winemaking.

Instead of just seeking cooperation with big companies, Zhao said China should also pay attention to small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU.

The chamber's survey also said that doing business has become more difficult in China in the past year due to market access restrictions, unequal treatment and longstanding regulatory barriers, and the barriers are expected to increase over the five years.

Wang admitted that there is still some space for China to improve in creating a better environment for foreign investors.

"However, we should also note that China is striving to realize its commitment to opening up. For example, a new but shorter negative list will soon be released to ease market restrictions on foreign investors," according to Wang, and the protection of intellectual property rights has been far better than previous years.

"But the tricky thing is, while the EU is complaining about barriers for investment in China, it is strengthening its control over China's investors. It is totally unfair," Wang said.

Newspaper headline: ‘Made in China 2025’ doesn’t exclude foreigners

Posted in: ECONOMY

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