China for faster foreign investment: Commerce Minister

Beijing, Feb 27 (IANS) China’s new Commerce Minister Zhong Shan on Monday said the country will introduce foreign investment more briskly.

Addressing a meeting in Beijing, Zhong, who replaced Gao Hucheng last Friday, promised more efforts in the area this year, including propelling the development of free trade zones, pushing for reforms in foreign investment management and improving the business environment.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the Chinese mainland rose 4.1 per cent year on year last year, mildly down from the 6.4 per cent gain in 2015.

China has been loosening its grip on the inflow of foreign capital as part of efforts to facilitate its opening up, reducing restrictive measures and opening more sectors.

In 2016, laws on foreign investment were amended and measures were unveiled to simplify the approval procedure for foreign companies.

Zhong also hoped foreign-funded businesses will play a bigger role in boosting China’s sluggish real economy.

Foreign companies generated nearly half of China’s foreign trade, 20 per cent of tax income and a seventh of urban jobs during the past four years, he said.