China vows to further cut negative list and lower tariff levels despite COVID-19

By Ma Jingjing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/18 23:40:18

The Shanghai free trade zone. File Photo: Xinhua

Chinese authorities said on Monday that China would boost the opening-up of the country’s manufacturing, services and agriculture sector to allow foreign-controlled or owned enterprises into more sectors and remove all entry restrictions not included in its negative list.

The new guideline aims to improve pre-entry national treatment plus negative list management, while removing all entry restrictions not included in the negative list, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

This is the latest among China’s moves to expand opening-up to benefit every economy. The 2019 version of the country’s negative list released last June cut a further eight items. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said at a press briefing on Monday that the list will be further reduced.

Given huge opening-up challenges brought on by the global pandemic and the diminishing benefit of opening-up measures over the last 40 years, “China needs to roll out more concrete and attractive measures to optimize resource allocation,” Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce’s International Market Research Institute, told the Global Times on Monday.

Bai said that sectors unrelated to national security such as healthcare and financial leasing may be gradually opened up.

The guideline also stated that China will improve rules for national security-related screening mechanisms for foreign investment and the “unreliable entity list.”

These rules are necessary for China in its opening-up process, because “with more opening-up, we need more security measures,” Bai said.

Zhong said that China will release incentives to attract foreign investment into the country’s central and western regions as well as old industrial bases in the northeastern regions, which have abundant development potential.

The ministry will also focus on implementing the Foreign Investment Law, creating a fair and competitive market environment for foreign investors, he said.

Global Times


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