Recently, addressing prominent issues in the business environment concerning foreign enterprises, China has issued the “Opinions on Further Optimizing the Environment for Foreign Investment and Increasing Efforts to Attract Foreign Investment.”Multiple government departments have elaborated on the “24 measures to attract foreign investment.” What are the key points worth noting in these measures?
Increasing Guidance for Foreign Investment in High Gold Content SectorsThe policy is expected to increase guidance for foreign investment in sectors such as finance, education, biomedicine, and advanced manufacturing. The Ministry of Commerce reveals that the next step will further relax restrictions on foreign investors’ strategic investments in listed companies. Support will be provided for foreign-invested enterprises in advanced manufacturing to collaborate with vocational colleges and training institutions for vocational education and training.The “Opinions” explicitly state the acceleration of foreign investment projects in the biopharmaceutical sector, encouraging foreign-invested enterprises to legally conduct clinical trials of cell and gene therapy drugs that are already listed overseas, and optimizing the application procedures for the registration of overseas-produced drugs transferred to domestic production.
Increased Guidance for Foreign InvestmentThe Ministry of Commerce will support regions in implementing complementary incentive measures for foreign-invested enterprises that comply with the encouraged foreign investment industry catalog within their statutory authority.Supportwill be given to foreign-invested enterprises in areas like advanced manufacturing to innovate and develop globally leading products in China.The Ministry of Commerce will revise the “Measures for the Administration of Foreign Investors’ Strategic Investments in Listed Companies” to further relax restrictions on foreign investors’ strategic investments in listed companies. A facilitative foreign exchange management system for qualified overseas limited partners will be established, supporting direct investment in relevant domestic projects using raised overseas Renminbi.The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s Planning Department spokesperson Yao Jun mentioned that foreign investment will be directed towards sectors like advanced manufacturing and energy conservation and environmental protection. Investment will be encouraged in China’s central and western regions as well as the northeastern region to further enhance the quality of foreign investment attraction and optimize the layout of foreign investment.
Multi-faceted Safeguards for National Treatment of Foreign-Invested EnterprisesChina currently follows the approach of granting national treatment prior to foreign investment access, along with a negative list management system. “Insist on treating domestic and foreign enterprises equally and creating a market environment of fair competition.”Concerning the policy of equal participation of foreign enterprises in government procurement activities, a series of measures will be taken, including advancing the revision of the Government Procurement Law and coordinating the Government Procurement Law and the Law on Bidding and Tendering. Clear standards for the term “produced in China” in the government procurement field will be defined to ensure equal participation of domestic and foreign enterprises in government procurement activities. Special inspections will be conducted to ensure fair participation of operating entities in government procurement activities and to rectify and investigate unlawful and irregular acts such as differential or discriminatory treatment towards foreign-invested enterprises.
New Initiatives to Optimize the Business Environment“Insist on treating domestic and foreign enterprises equally and creating a market environment of fair competition.” In terms of anti-monopoly measures, supporting regulations including the “Provisions on Prohibiting Monopoly Agreements” will be completed to provide clear, transparent, and predictable guidance for compliant operations.Efforts will be intensified in enforcing intellectual property rights and protecting trade secrets. In the first half of this year, 17,100 cases of illegal activities in trademark, patent, and other areas were investigated, ensuring equal protection of intellectual property rights for both domestic and foreign-invested enterprises.Support will be extended to foreign-invested enterprises for fair participation in standardization work. Encouragement will be given for foreign-invested enterprises and foreign experts to participate in group standard development. Currently, 62% of technical committees for professional standards have foreign-invested enterprise members. The consistency between domestic and international standards will be enhanced, with China’s international standard conversion rate already exceeding 80%, and the consistency of key consumer product standards with international standards reaching 95%.Regarding production and operations, a concern commonly raised by foreign-invested enterprises is whether they can participate in government procurement activities on an equal basis. The Ministry of Finance attaches great importance to optimizing the foreign-investment environment in the government procurement field, striving to eliminate various unreasonable restrictions and barriers in government procurement, and legally ensuring equal participation of both domestic and foreign-invested enterprises in government procurement activities.