(Economic Watch) What signals did China's Minister of Commerce send when he met with 5 senior executives of foreign companies in 11 days?

Beijing, March 3 (ZXS) -- In just five days from March 27 to 3, Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao met intensively with executives of 23 multinational companies, including Apple, Esquel Group, Nestle Group, and BMW Group. Analysts here believe that this series of moves has released two major signals.

Signal 1: China's expansion of opening up is not stopping.

Wang Wentao told a number of executives of multinational companies that opening up to the outside world is China's basic national policy, and China will unswervingly promote high-level opening up and deepen cooperation in the global industrial chain and supply chain.

Previously, Chinese officials have repeatedly made it clear on different occasions that they will unswervingly expand opening up. At the end of last year, the Central Economic Work Conference proposed to promote high-level opening up and improve the quality and level of trade and investment cooperation. This year's Chinese government work report also proposed to expand market access and increase the opening up of the modern service industry.

China's vision and determination to open up have gradually been translated into reality. In terms of lowering the entry threshold, China has continuously reduced the service industry entries in the negative list for foreign investment access, added service industry entries in the catalogue of industries that encourage foreign investment, and increased the comprehensive pilot project of expanding the opening up of the service industry. In terms of aligning with international high-standard economic and trade rules, China is actively promoting its accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and negotiations on joining the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) have also begun.

Signal two, China will introduce more practical measures to improve the business environment.

In his meetings with senior executives of foreign companies, Wang Wentao repeatedly expressed his willingness to provide a good environment and services for the development of enterprises from all over the world in China.

In recent years, China has been committed to optimizing the business environment and creating convenient conditions for investors to set up business in China. For example, during the epidemic, the official set up a special class for key foreign-funded projects to help foreign enterprises in China solve difficulties in raw materials and labor in a timely manner.

These efforts have been recognized by foreign companies. According to a survey by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, in the fourth quarter of last year, foreign-funded enterprises were generally satisfied with China's business environment, and about 90% of foreign companies were "satisfied" with the acquisition of business premises and tax assessments.

Analysts believe that in the current international investment competition is becoming increasingly fierce and the business environment has increasingly become an important consideration for foreign enterprises' investment layout, targeted response to the demands of foreign enterprises and the implementation of national treatment for foreign enterprises are expected to become a major focus of China's future efforts to attract foreign investment.

Action has begun. Spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce Shu Hengting revealed that as the epidemic prevention and control enters a new stage, the special class for key foreign-funded projects is changing its focus, including deepening the regular exchange mechanism with foreign-funded enterprises and foreign business associations, and listening to and responding to the concerns of foreign-funded enterprises in a timely and effective manner; Improve mechanisms for problem collection, coordination and resolution, monitoring and early warning, and rapid response to emergencies; Establish a regular communication, targeted service, and precise investment promotion linkage coordination mechanism; Establish a scheduling mechanism for local service key foreign-funded projects, etc.

Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that by promoting high-level opening up, improving the business environment, and ensuring the expectations of foreign capital for safety, returns and markets, it is conducive to effectively stabilizing the basic market for attracting foreign capital and further improving the level of utilization of foreign capital. (End)