China's plan to promote high-level opening-up and attract foreign investment| March 22, 2024

The following plan, titled the Action Plan to Solidly Promote High-level Opening-up and Vigorously Attract and Utilize Foreign Investment and dated Feb 28, 2024, was released recently by the General Office of China's State Council.

Intro: Foreign investment serves as an important driving force for China's modernization as well as the economic prosperity of China and the world. Domestic and international markets should be better coordinated while steady efforts are made to advance China's opening-up to better attract and utilize foreign investment. An internationally first-class business environment that is market-oriented and legalized is crucial to attain the above goals. Meanwhile, China's massive market size should be given full play to consolidate foreign investors' confidence and promote the quality of trade and investment cooperation.

I. Expand market entry

1. Shorten negative list for the entry of foreign investment

- Completely remove the foreign investment entry limit in the manufacturing sector

- Advance further opening-up in telecommunications and medical sectors

2. Launch pilot projects to relax access to scientific and technological innovation for foreign investment

- Allow qualified foreign-invested companies in FTZs in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong in the development and application of genetic diagnosis and treatment technologies

- Implement opening-up measures for app store managers in FTZs

3. Expand entry for foreign banks and insurance companies

- Support qualified foreign institutions to conduct bank card clearing business

- Deepen opening-up in commercial pension and health insurance

- Support qualified overseas insurers to set up or take stakes in onshore insurance companies

4. Expand the Chinese bond market scope accessible to foreign institutions

- Support qualified foreign financial institutions for onshore bond underwriting

- Allow more foreign banks to participate in the pilot project of government bond futures trading

5. Deepen the pilot program for onshore investment among qualified foreign limited partners

- Expand the investment scope for QFLP funds

- Encourage foreign institutions to set up onshore private equities

II. Step up policy support

6. Expand the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment

- Step up support for foreign investment in advanced manufacturing, high-tech, energy saving, and environmental protection at the national level

- Step up support for foreign investment in basic manufacturing, applicable technologies, and non-discretionary consumption in the central and western parts of China

- Support foreign projects in integrated circuit, biomedicine, and high-end equipment be included in the major foreign project list, thus eligible for relevant policy supports

7. Implement supportive tax policies

- Allow qualified foreign-invested projects to enjoy tariff exemption for equipment imports for self-use

- Implement favorable tax policies for overseas investors investing in China's bond market

8. Step up financial support

- Support qualified foreign-invested companies to issue yuan-denominated bonds in the onshore market and use the financing for domestic projects

- Provide more convenient foreign exchange services for foreign-invested companies

9. Secure energy supply

- Foreign projects' reasonable energy demand is equally treated as the domestic ones

- Accelerate the promotion of green certificate trading and green electricity trade across different provinces

10. Support the central, western, and northeastern parts of the country to undertake industrial transfer

III. Optimize the business environment and advocate fair competition

11. Eliminate policies hindering fair competition

- Promptly address discriminatory conduct against foreign-invested enterprises concerning government procurement, bidding, qualification certification, standard formulation, and subsidies

12. Improve the bidding mechanism

13. Allow foreign companies’ equal participation in standard formulation

- Support foreign enterprises to join technical committees for advanced manufacturing, engineering materials, information and communication

14. Improve administrative law enforcement

15. Continue to build the "Invest in China" brand

- Conduct "Invest in China" promotion activities via major exhibitions

- Give full play to the business functions of overseas embassies and consulates

- Organize international industrial investment cooperation and matchmaking activities

16. Improve services rendered to foreign companies

IV. Promote innovation cooperation between Chinese and foreign companies

17. Support the data flow between foreign-invested enterprises and their headquarters

- Promote the safe and orderly data flow for R&D, production, and sales of foreign enterprises

- Formulate standards for cross-border data transfer in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and explore the establishment of a "white list" mechanism for cross-border data flow

18. Facilitate the travel of international business personnel

- Provide more convenient visa services for foreign business personnel

- Provide two-year visa to foreign companies’ executives, technicians, and their spouses and minor children

19. Optimize the management of foreigners' work and residence permits in China

20. Support innovation cooperation between domestic and foreign institutions

- Support foreign-invested companies, foreign R&D institutions, and multinational companies in the country to equally participate in China's science and technology projects

V. Align with international high-standard economic and trade rules

21. Strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights

- Accelerate the construction of a national intellectual property protection information platform

- Consolidate the trade secret protection system

- Step up investigation and crackdown on infringement of intellectual property rights

22. Complete the rules for cross-border data flow

- Define the scope of important data

- Explore to conduct pilot projects for cross-border data flow with members which have signed the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement

23. Promote the negotiation and implementation of high-standard economic and trade agreements

- Make active attempts to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement

- Strive to sign free trade agreements with more countries and regions

24.  Make more efforts to align with international high-standard economic and trade rules

- Build an open industry mechanism for the service sector by aligning with international high-standard economic and trade rules

- Support qualified FTZs and the Hainan Free Trade Port to explore the implementation of the WTO negotiation results for trade in services, investment facilitation, and digital trade


Source: the General Office of the State Council

Related stories