China’s Growing Two-Way Investment Seen as “Anchor of Stability”

The China International Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) was held in Xiamen. At a time when cross-border investment continues to be in the doldrums, China’s steadily growing two-way investment is becoming an important force in promoting global investment stability. Over the past few days, a number of reports released at this year’s CIFIT have also confirmed this point.
The World Investment Report 2023 (Chinese version) points out that in 2022, global direct investment “growth will be concentrated in several large emerging economies”.The China Two-Way Investment Report 2023 points out that China’s two-way investment in 2022 will maintain a steady and progressive trend, and at the same time play the role of a large demonstration country in two-way investment, injecting new momentum and confidence into global cross-border investment, and contributing positively to the stabilization of the global industrial chain supply chain.From the point of view of the introduction of foreign investment, the latest data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that in the first seven months of this year, 28,406 new foreign-invested enterprises were set up nationwide, an increase of 34% year-on-year; the actual use of foreign investment in high-tech industries increased by 3.8% year-on-year, with high-tech manufacturing industries increasing by 25.3% year-on-year.

In recent years, China has continued to optimize the business environment and provide more convenience for foreign investment. Recently, the State Council issued the Opinions on Further Optimizing the Foreign Investment Environment and Strengthening the Efforts to Attract Foreign Investment, proposing to “create a first-class business environment that is market-oriented, rule of law-oriented and internationalized”.

The Opinions put forward 24 policy measures in six areas:
Increase the power of utilizing  foreign investment
Increase the introduction of foreign investment in key areas, play a leading role in the comprehensive pilot demonstration of the expansion and opening up of the service industry, broaden the channels for attracting foreign investment, support the gradient transfer of foreign-invested enterprises, and improve the mechanism for promoting the construction of foreign investment projects.In January this year, “Several Measures on Further Encouraging Foreign Investment in Establishing R&D Centers” was released to the public. The opinions released this time further proposed to “encourage foreign-invested enterprises and the R&D centers they set up to undertake major scientific research projects”, “accelerate the landing and commissioning of foreign-invested projects in the field of biomedicine, and encourage foreign-invested enterprises to carry out clinical trials of overseas marketed cellular and gene therapy medicines in China in accordance with the law”.Encourage foreign-invested enterprises to carry out clinical trials of overseas listed cell and gene therapy drugs in China in accordance with the law, etc.
Guaranteeing national treatment for  foreign-invested enterprises
Guaranteeing participation in government procurement activities in accordance with the law, supporting equal participation in standard-setting in accordance with the law, and ensuring equal enjoyment of support policies.

Continuously Strengthening Foreign Investment Protection
Improve the mechanism for protecting the rights and interests of foreign investors, strengthen the administrative protection of intellectual property rights, intensify the administrative enforcement of intellectual property rights, and standardize the formulation of foreign-related economic and trade laws and regulations.The organization of a roundtable meeting for foreign-funded enterprises is a recent institutional arrangement established by the Ministry of Commerce relying on the upgraded foreign trade and foreign investment coordination service mechanism. Foreign-funded enterprises are invited into government agencies to listen to the views and demands of in-depth enterprises and production sites to take the initiative todoor-to-door service, through flexible and diverse, informal two-way exchanges, the government and enterprises to communicate more smoothly, foreign-funded enterprises to get a positive response to the problems and demands and solutions.In addition to “establish and improve the roundtable system for foreign-invested enterprises” and other services and safeguards, the opinion also puts forward “to protect foreign-invested enterprises to participate in government procurement activities in accordance with the law,” “as soon as possible to introduce relevant policies and measures to further clarify the ‘production in China’,” “to ensure that foreign-invested enterprises can participate in government procurement activities in accordance with the law.

The opinion also proposes to “guarantee the participation of foreign-invested enterprises in government procurement activities in accordance with the law”, “expedite the introduction of relevant policies and measures to further clarify the specific standards of ‘production in China'”,”support foreign-invested enterprises to participate in standard-setting work on an equal footing in accordance with the law” and so on, so as to guarantee national treatment for foreign-invested enterprises.

“These favorable policies will not only better protect all kinds of business entities to participate in government procurement activities on an equal footing, but also promote the high-quality development of domestic supply chains and industrial chains in the field of healthcare.

Improve investment and operation facilitation
Optimize the stay policy for foreign employees of foreign-invested enterprises, explore a facilitated security management mechanism for cross-border flow of data, coordinate and optimize law enforcement inspections for foreign-invested enterprises, andimprove the service guarantee for foreign-invested enterprises.A few days ago, the Ministry of Public Security issued 26 measures to serve and guarantee high-quality development, proposing that “foreigners coming to China for business negotiations, trade exchanges, installation and maintenance, participation in exhibitions, investment and entrepreneurship, etc., and it is too late for them to apply for visas for China outside the country, they can apply for visas for entry to China on the basis of invitations from enterprises and supporting materials at the port of entry”. “For those who need to make multiple round trips for business and trade operations, they can exchange their business and trade visas for multiple-entry visas valid for three years after entering China.”The release of the views further optimize the policy of stopping foreign employees of foreign-funded enterprises to facilitate the deployment of overseas investment promotion work.

Increase Financial and Tax Support
Strengthening the financial guarantee for foreign investment promotion, encouraging domestic reinvestment by foreign-invested enterprises, implementing relevant tax incentives for foreign-invested enterprises, and supporting foreign-invested enterprises to invest in areas encouraged by the state.
Improve the way of foreign investment promotion
Improve the mechanism for attracting investment, facilitate the promotion of overseas investment, expand the channels for promoting foreign investment, and optimize the evaluation of foreign investment promotion.

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