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Could you please talk about newly established foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) this year? What’s MOFCOM’s assessment of how China’s business environment has improved?(2021-12-30)

From January to November this year, 43,370 FIEs were established, up 29.3% year-on-year. In terms of source countries, the numbers of new Japanese-, Korean-, U.S.-, and European-invested companies increased by 32.1%, 31.6%, 30.2% and 28.9% respectively. In terms of sectors, the numbers of new manufacturing and services FIEs grew by 24.1% and 30.1% respectively, and the number of new high-tech FIEs expanded by 25.4%, accounting for 28% of all new FIEs.

This year, owing to the instructions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, as well as the joint efforts of all relevant departments and local authorities, China’s foreign investment environment has seen continuous improvement.

First, higher-level opening-up. The negative lists for foreign investment continued to be shortened. The numbers of foreign investment limits for the whole country and for pilot free trade zones were reduced to 31 and 27 respectively in the recently published 2021 negative lists. The demonstration zones and pilots for greater openness in the services sector have made steady progress. Tianjin, Shanghai, Hainan, and Chongqing were added as pilot zones with a total of 203 pilot measures; together, they have formed a “4+1” pattern with the national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the services sector in Beijing.

Second, greater investment facilitation. We have compiled the Foreign Investment Guide of China (2021 Edition) which incorporates introductions to China’s investment environment, legal systems, and investment procedures, to help FIEs and foreign investors work on investment strategies and start investment and business operations in China. We have also worked with relevant authorities to introduce policies lowering the tax preference threshold for foreign-invested R&D centers.

Third, better services for foreign-invested companies and projects. The task force on key foreign-invested projects held 74 dialogue and exchange events for FIEs and foreign business associations to promote policy awareness, heed needs from different sides, and respond to FIEs’ concerns. The task force has provided “one-on-one” follow-up service for key foreign-invested companies and projects. By resolving, through coordination, over 1,000 difficulties and problems at central or local levels regarding entry of personnel, clearance of goods, and vaccination, the task force has ensured normal operation of FIEs and sped up implementation of key projects.

Fourth, more effective investment promotion and protection. The 12th Expo Central China, the 21st CIFIT, the 4th CIIE, and other exhibition platforms have played a greater role in investment promotion, successfully bringing in a new batch of foreign-invested projects. Investment promotion activities that showcased the CIIE in provinces and brought multinationals to places across China have effectively supported local efforts to attract investment in industrial chains. The FIE complaint mechanism has kept improving, an example of stronger protection of foreign investors’ lawful rights and interests.

In the next step, we will continue to advance high-standard opening-up, enhance service for foreign investment, improve investment promotion, and step up protection of foreign investors’ rights and interests, all in a bid to foster a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law, and up to international standards to a fuller extent. Thank you.