Amid declining confidence among foreign companies in China, the world’s second-largest economy, President Xi Jinping, during his visit to the United States, promised CEOs of major companies that he would make it easier for foreigners to do business in China. did.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in California, Mr. Xi vowed that China would create a “world-class business environment” and improve mechanisms to protect the rights of international investors.Mr. Xi did not attend the CEO Summit, and the content of his written speech was revised on the 16th. It was announced.
“We will take more ‘heart-warming’ measures, such as improving policies for foreigners entering and staying in China,” Xi said, explaining that he would smoothen access to financial, medical and electronic payment services. “All of this is to make it easier for foreign companies to invest and do business in China,” he said.
Power is concentrated in Mr. Xi, who has entered an unprecedented third term in office. The Chinese Communist Party, which he leads as general secretary, has made sudden changes in policy, raising concerns among foreign investors. Strict entry and movement restrictions will continue during the coronavirus pandemic. Exposures related to national security are also fueling anxiety among foreign companies. Mr. Xi’s speech at the CEO Summit appears to have been intended to address some of those concerns.
“We will continue to open our doors and pursue development. Our policy of providing equal and high-quality services to foreign investors remains unchanged,” Xi said.
China maintains a “negative list” that enumerates restrictions and prohibitions on investment by foreign investors, including compulsory education, the press, and the exploration and mining of some metals. Pledges to reduce that number are not new. Since 2017, the Chinese government has reduced the list every year until 2021 and eased regulations in industries such as securities, banking and automobile manufacturing.
Amy Celico, a partner at Albright Stonebridge Group, who attended the dinner with Xi and U.S. business leaders, said China was justified in taking more concrete action on the business front. It appears that they were waiting for the current U.S.-China summit meeting to see if it would be possible.
“Certainly that’s what CEOs want, and they should get down to the real business problems that need to see progress,” he said.
Original title: Xi Pledges ‘Heart-Warming’ Steps to Attract Foreign Capital (1) (excerpt)