China defends manufacturing plan, pledges greater openness

Updated 2018-04-21 13:15:00 Xinhua

The Chinese Minister of Industry and Information Technology said Friday concerns over the "Made in China 2025" plan are unnecessary and China will further open up its manufacturing sector.

"We are committed to ensuring that the 'Made in China 2025' plan and other relevant policies are applied equally to all enterprises in China, both Chinese and foreign enterprises," according to a signed article by Miao Wei published in the China Daily.

Unveiled in May 2015, the plan aims to boost manufacturing innovation in China and promote development in 10 key sectors, including robotics, aerospace equipment and new materials.

With the rise of the Chinese manufacturing sector, some people worry that the "Made in China 2025" plan may only benefit Chinese enterprises and create obstacles to foreign companies, according to the article titled "Further Opening up of Manufacturing to Promote Global Growth."

There is also concern that the spillover effect that could arise from structural problems, such as excess capacity, could have a negative impact on other countries' industries, he said.

"These concerns are unnecessary," he said.

Thanks to the implementation of the plan, China has enhanced synergies in manufacturing development strategies and promoted cooperation with Germany, France and other countries through multilateral or bilateral mechanisms, he said.

By investing overseas, Chinese manufacturing companies have also brought funds, technologies and products to the target countries and contributed to the development of the local economy by creating jobs and paying taxes, producing win-win results, he said.

Official data showed that Chinese companies' accumulated investment in overseas trade cooperative zones hit 30.7 billion U.S. dollars, which generated 2.42 billion U.S. dollars in tax and fees, and created 258,000 local jobs by the end of 2017.

The scope of the opening up of China's manufacturing sector continues to increase, according to the minister. The recently revised Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries (2017) has substantially reduced the access restrictions for foreign investment.

In terms of manufacturing products, 22 of the 31 categories, 167 of the 179 sub-categories, and 585 of the 609 branch-categories are fully open to foreign investment, accounting for 71 percent, 93.3 percent and 96.1 percent, respectively, of the categories.

China will implement its commitments to further open up such sectors as automobiles, shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing by easing restrictions over the proportion of foreign equity as early as possible, especially in the auto sector, Miao said.

The country will also improve alignment with international economic and trade rules, and provide foreign investors with more and better opportunities, he added.

"China's manufacturing industry has been and always will be upholding the fundamental principle of mutual benefit and open cooperation," Miao said.

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