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[Yearly Overview XVIII for Commerce Work in 2018] Promote High-level Liberalization and Facilitation to Create a First-class Investment Environment for Foreign Investors

In 2018, guided by Xi Jinping鈥檚 Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, MOFCOM deeply implemented the plans of CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and appealed to the State Council to roll out some measures on promoting the high-quality economic development by using foreign capital actively and effectively, promoted the implementation of the high-level policies on investment liberalization and facilitation, endeavored to optimize the investment environment for foreign investors and promoted the new achievements in China鈥s use of foreign capital.

We promoted investment freedom with the implementation of the negative list regulation as the core. Together with the National Development and Reform Commission, we implemented The Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access (2018 Edition), the reduction measures have been reduced by nearly a quarter, and the restrictions on foreign investment access have been relaxed in 22 areas such as finance, transportation, automobile and shipbuilding. We issued and implemented The Special Administrative Measures (Negative List) for Foreign Investment Access in Pilot Free Trade Zones (2018 Edition), and further expanded the opening up in the fields of culture, resources, seed industry and telecommunications.

We promoted investment convenience with the core of deregulation. We continued to promote the reform of administration streamlining, power delegating, and regulation and services improving in the field of foreign investment, and delegated the foreign investment approval power to the provincial people's government. We revised and implemented the Interim Administrative Measures for the Record-filing of the Incorporation and Change of Foreign-invested Enterprises, and business filing and business registration can be processed together in one go throughout the country. The level of investment facilitation was further enhanced.

We promoted investment protection with the construction of law as the core. Together with the Ministry of Justice and the Development and Reform Commission, we promoted the legislative process of the Foreign Investment Law, and promoted the revision of the Administration of Foreign Strategic Investment in Listed Companies to continuously improve the foreign investment legal system. We gave play to the role of the inter-ministerial joint meeting of complaints work of foreign-invested enterprises, and urged all regions to establish and improve foreign capital complaint handling mechanisms at the provincial level to promptly respond to and solve problems raised by foreign-funded enterprises.

We enhanced investment promotion with the core of optimizing services. We continuously optimized the foreign investment promotion service system and actively guided foreign investment in modern agriculture, ecological construction, advanced manufacturing, and modern service industries. Together with the relevant departments, we released the Applicable Scope of the Policy of Temporarily Exempting the Withholding Income Taxes on the Direct Investment of the Overseas Investors with Distributed Profits (No. 102 [2018] of the Ministry of Finance), and implemented the relevant tax preferential policies. We improved the investment promotion work system, increased the level of investment attraction, and guided local governments to change their concepts to carry out targeted investment promotion activities through combining regional development advantages and characteristics.

We constructed the pilot free trade zones with high quality and played the role of experimental fields in reform and opening up. We reported and applied to the State Council for issuing the plans on further deepening the reform and opening up in three free trade pilot zones of Guangdong, Tianjin and Fujian, and conducted differentiated exploration experiments in a wider field and scope. We issued the overall plan for the Hainan Free Trade Zone. We promoted the promulgation of State Council鈥檚 Several Measures for Supporting the Deepening of Report and Innovation in Pilot Free Trade Zones, giving the pilot free zone more reform autonomy. We promoted the promulgation of the Notice of the State Council on Effectively Replicating and Promoting the Fourth Group of Pilot Experiences on Reform of Pilot Free Trade Zones, copying and promoting the experience of 30 reform pilots to the whole country, and driving the continuous optimization of the foreign investment environment in the whole country.

We promoted innovation鈥檚 improvement to build a high-level platform for opening up. We implemented the innovation and upgrading project of the development zone, promoted the reform of the management system and the development of the open economy of the development zone, and strengthened the research and transformation of industrial clusters. We carried out 2018 annual assessment and evaluation of national economic and technological development zones, and strengthened classified guidance and dynamic management. We deepened international cooperation and regional joint construction, and guided the construction of international industrial parks. We continued to support the construction of border economic cooperation zones and cross-border economic cooperation zones, promoted paired assistance, fostered and strengthened the industries with distinctive advantages, and further consolidated the foundation of open development.

Through unremitting efforts, China鈥檚 use of foreign capital has hit a record high with its quality and level further enhanced. In January-December 2018, the actual use of foreign capital was 885.61 billion yuan, with an increase of 0.9% year on year (equivalent to US$134.97 billion, up 3% year on year). The manufacturing industry achieved rapid growth. The actual use of foreign capital in the manufacturing industry increased by 20.1% year on year, accounting for 30.6%, and the high-tech manufacturing industry increased by 35.1% year on year. The central and western regions achieved rapid growth, and the actual use of foreign capital in the central and western regions increased by 15.4% and 18.5% respectively. The large-scale foreign-funded projects achieved rapid growth, and the number of the big contractual foreign investment projects above US$50 million reached nearly 1,700, with an increase of 23.3% year on year, indicating that foreign investors鈥confidence in China鈥檚 investment has not diminished.

In 2019, MOFCOM will comprehensively implement the opening-up measures announced by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the first CIIE and the spirit of the Central Economic Work Conference, continue to ease market access, comprehensively implement the pre-entry national treatment and the negative list management system, and promote investment liberalization and facilitation to a higher level. We will continue to strengthen the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors to create a world-class foreign investment environment.

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