China economy

China’s premier pledges to open up more areas of economy to foreign firms

Comments from Premier Li Keqiang come as China seeks to project itself as the world’s leading free trade advocate, despite criticism from overseas companies about market access on mainland

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 9:25am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 9:25am

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country would further open its services, manufacturing and mining sectors to the outside world, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday, even as foreign firms struggle with protectionist policies.

The premier’s comments come as President Xi Jinping seeks to project China as the world’s leading free trade advocate and despite recent observations from some foreign companies that they are less welcome in China now than they were in the past.

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Li said on Monday China would streamline administrative procedures for foreign investments and ensure a level playing field for companies registered in the country, Xinhua reported the premier saying at a meeting held during the China Development Forum in Beijing.

China supports foreign-funded firms to list and issue bonds in the country and participate in national science and technology programmes and infrastructure projects, said Li.

He invited more foreign companies to invest in China, cooperate with Chinese enterprises and engage in development opportunities, Xinhua said.

Li said he hoped other countries overcome issues and friction caused by globalisation by communicating effectively, according to Xinhua.

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Among the attendees were HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, former US treasury secretary Lawrence Summers and Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

Li’s comments contrast with those of a senior minister on Sunday who said China’s policy of restricting market access was important for domestic growth.