China 'welcomes' companies from Europe

Updated 2017-06-09 09:27:01 Global Times

Gov't strives to open market, ensure fair competitive environment

China's opening-up policy has not changed and will not change in the future, and the country welcomes European companies' investment, a Chinese official said Thursday.

Sun Jiwen, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said at a press conference in Beijing that due to differences in China's and Europe's levels of economic and industrial development, European companies should not simply compare the relative openness of areas and levels of the economies in China and Europe, nor should they expect the same level of opening-up.

"The key is to see whether both sides have achieved a balance of interests," Sun said.

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) on May 31 released its annual Business Confidence Survey 2017. The survey showed that half of its member companies reported feeling less welcome compared with when they first entered the Chinese market.

"Over the last four years, more than half have consistently reported that foreign-invested enterprises are treated unfairly compared with domestic Chinese companies," the report said.

Sun noted that "we have looked at the survey, which showed that the financial performance has improved for most EU enterprises doing business in China."

For instance, about 55 percent of the respondents reported revenue growth in 2016, with an increase of 5 percentage points over 2015; 71 percent of the respondents reported positive earnings before interest and taxes, and 55 percent of the respondents had an optimistic view of revenue growth, according to the survey.

"All these figures show that EU enterprises' confidence in Chinese investment and their financial performance clearly rose," the MOFCOM spokesman said.

The ministry is seeking to improve the foreign investment environment in China by easing restrictions and ensuring a fair competitive environment, Sun said.

The ministry will study the suggestions in the EUCCC survey and invite foreign companies in China and some business associations to hold talks to address their concerns, according to Sun.

The Chinese government has sought to improve the nation's investment environment and showed its sincerity of opening-up through efforts like helping address problems that foreign companies faced in the Chinese market, Lin Guijun, vice president at the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China's large market is attractive to foreign companies but equal opening-up still needs time, Lin said, noting that Chinese authorities are expected to listen to suggestions from foreign companies.

Liu Jianying, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Chinese government is expected to create a more favorable, convenient and stable policy environment and system guarantee for Sino-European economic and trade cooperation to transform bilateral investment potential into a driver of economic growth.

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