China News Service, Beijing, February 24th: Title: The Standing Committee of the State Council proposed an important focus for economic work this year. China will make further efforts to stabilize foreign investment.

  China News Service reporter Li Xiaoyu

  The executive meeting of the State Council of China held on the 23rd proposed that stabilizing foreign investment should be an important focus of economic work this year and consolidate the confidence of foreign investment in the development of China.

  China currently faces challenges in attracting foreign investment.

On the one hand, global cross-border investment is generally weak, and many developing countries and emerging economies are vying to relax investment restrictions, and competition in attracting investment is becoming increasingly fierce; on the other hand, the United States and other Western countries are pursuing strategies such as "decoupling" and "de-risking", which has resulted in Some foreign companies make investment decisions without concerns, which creates obstacles for China to attract foreign investment.

  According to official data, in 2023, 53,766 new foreign-invested enterprises were established across the country, a year-on-year increase of 39.7%; the actual amount of foreign capital used was 1.13391 billion yuan, a year-on-year decrease of 8.0%.

In January this year, the actual amount of foreign investment nationwide increased by 20.4% month-on-month, but it still declined compared with the same period last year.

  The plan for the year begins with spring.

China's deployment to stabilize foreign investment at this time will help seize the important time window in time and take the lead in the global competition to attract investment.

  The State Council executive meeting pointed out that foreign investment is an important force in promoting the common prosperity and development of China's economy and the world economy.

We should make stabilizing foreign investment an important focus of this year's economic work, strengthen service guarantees in terms of expanding market access, optimizing a fair competition environment, and smoothing the flow of innovative factors, and continue to create a market-oriented, legal, and international first-class business environment, consolidate the confidence of foreign investment in developing China, and improve the quality and level of trade and investment cooperation.

  Wang Xiaohong, a researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said that a good business environment is the core competitiveness in attracting foreign investment.

Starting from optimizing the business environment is the key to seizing the stability of foreign investment.

  In recent years, China's business environment has improved significantly.

A survey by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed that in the fourth quarter of 2023, the satisfaction of foreign-funded enterprises surveyed with China's business environment continued to increase. Among them, the proportion of enterprises that rated "cross-border trade" and "market access" as "satisfied" or above More than 90%.

  However, Wang Xiaohong pointed out that China's business environment still lags behind the world's first-class level, and there is a lack of information sharing mechanism among various departments.

  Expanding market access, optimizing a fair competition environment, and smoothing the flow of innovative factors proposed by this State Council executive meeting are all key areas for improving the business environment.

For example, in terms of expanding market access, China's manufacturing industry has basically been fully open to foreign investment. The next step is expected to focus on modern service industries and other areas that are conducive to industrial structure upgrades and greater market demand, and reasonably reduce the negative list for foreign investment access.

  Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that minimizing communication and negotiation costs should also be an aspect of optimizing the business environment.

Regarding whether foreign-funded enterprises enjoy fair treatment in key aspects such as government procurement, financial subsidies, and qualification licensing, special inspections can be deployed from time to time to respond to and solve various existing problems in a timely manner.

  China has started to improve the business environment from details.

In addition to the implementation of five convenient measures for foreigners coming to China, convenience measures such as reducing the content of the visa application form, reducing visa fees in stages, exempting some applicants from taking fingerprints, making visa-free appointments, and trialling unilateral visa-free policies for countries such as France and Germany In addition, China also regularly holds roundtable meetings with foreign companies to understand companies' suggestions and demands face-to-face and continue to promote solutions.

  Wang Wentao, Minister of Commerce of China, stated that this year, China will continue to implement the "24 Foreign Investment Regulations" introduced last year, promote the relaxation of foreign investment access, continue to optimize the foreign investment environment, and make good use of the foreign-invested enterprise roundtable and the foreign-invested enterprise complaint collection and processing system.

  Recently, many places in China have intensively deployed measures to improve the business environment and stepped up efforts to attract investment.

Analysts say that with the support of a series of policies, China’s absorption of foreign investment is expected to be stable and positive.