Foreign businesses have strong expectations for China’s two sessions
Published: Mar 01, 2023 08:50 PM
Two sessions

 File photo shows a view of the Lujiazui area in Shanghai.Photo:Xinhua

File photo shows a view of the Lujiazui area in Shanghai.Photo:Xinhua

Foreign commerce chambers and companies operating in China have strong expectations for this year's annual two sessions scheduled for later this week, expressing confidence in China's economic growth in 2023 and eyeing greater opportunities from Chinese modernization. 

The 14th National People's Congress will open its first annual session in Beijing on Sunday. The first session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will begin on Saturday. They are jointly known as the two sessions, during which various economic development goals and plans are released.

Michael Hart, AmCham China president, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the chamber is looking at China's policy direction as leading positions at state institutions are confirmed, while it is also interested in a number of reform policies guiding the financial, internet and industrial sectors.

"We are starting to hear, I would say probably half a dozen US companies have said their CEOs are going to visit this spring. We are talking to a number of them about helping to brief their CEOs. When they come in, they're going to visit their employees, their facilities and their customers, and they also want to talk to us about the overall sentiment," Hart said.

During the two sessions, China's economic policy priorities for the year and beyond are usually widely discussed, which offers foreign businesses a window into potential opportunities. 

"Vale believes that the convening of this year's two sessions will bring a clearer prospect for the recovery and growth of the Chinese economy," the Brazilian mining giant told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Vale will continue to pay close attention to topics related to green and low-carbon development, especially the new progress, new direction and new objectives in the green and low-carbon development of related industries like steel-making, to explore more cooperation opportunities, the company said.

China's efforts to further open up its market are also in focus.

"While having been in the Chinese market for many years, we feel that China's opening-up has been increasingly accelerated and the business environment is constantly optimized," Han Jingjing, a sales and marketing vice president of the Swiss air quality technology company IQAir China, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"We believe the Chinese economy will strongly rebound this year, which will inject vitality into the global economy. In the future, we will increase investment in China, accelerate innovation and build products suitable for Chinese consumers to better expand and serve the Chinese market," Han said. 

For example, the new version of Standards for Indoor Air Quality will take effect in May in China. For foreign companies, the increasingly detailed and refined industry management demonstrates the country's optimized business environment, Han noted.

Thanks to the country's ongoing fast economic recovery, constantly improving business environment, complete industrial and supply chains and other favorable factors, multinationals' confidence in the Chinese market is steadfast.

During a meeting with Michel Doukeris, chief executive of the world's largest brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev on February 24, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed China's resolve on opening-up at a higher level.

Wang said China will continue to foster a world-class business environment that is market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized, and implement a strategy for expanding domestic demand to elevate market confidence, according to the ministry's website on Wednesday.

Doukeris said the group pays close attention to the Chinese market, and his visit to China will shore up the group's confidence to ramp up investment in China. 

According to China's Ministry of Commerce, the actual use of foreign capital on the Chinese mainland hit 127.69 billion yuan ($18.65 billion) in January, up 14.5 percent year-on-year.

In 2022, China fully implemented a shorter negative list for foreign investment, expanded encouraged investment catalog and added more cities to the pilot program of opening up services sector.

Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told a regular press conference on Wednesday that facts have proved that China is a hot spot for investment by foreign-funded enterprises.

"China-US trade and investment cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win. Those who seek decoupling and breaking supply chains ... are unpopular and will fail," Mao said, noting that China welcomes companies from all over the world, including US companies, to look for business opportunities in China and jointly promote global economic growth.