Beijing: China will vie with India for FDI (foreign direct investment) as the world’s second largest economy on Sunday rolled out a slew of measures to attract foreign investment under its “Made in China” initiative.
“Foreign firms will be treated the same as domestic firms when it comes to licences applications, standard setting, government procurement and will enjoy same preferential policies under Made in China 2025 initiative,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in his annual speech to the National People’s Congress (NPC).
“We will revise the catalogue of industries open to foreign investment and make service industries, manufacturing and mining more open to foreign investment,” he said in a report to the opening ceremony of the annual session of the top legislature.
“We will encourage foreign invested firms to be listed and issue bonds in China and allow them to take part in national science and technology projects,” he said.
A single window model for processing international trade will be used more widely and customs clearance procedures will be integrated nationwide, he said.
The new measures came as China on Sunday set its GDP growth target at around 6.5 per cent for 2017, down from last year’s 6.7 per cent, as it braced for further slowdown of its growth.
China attracted FDI and foreign technology for decades which helped it to emerge as the world’s second largest economy. But economic slowdown and continued fall of exports dented its ability to attract FDI.
After a slowdown in the past few years, China had better FDI inflows of $118 billion (Dh433 billion) last year, which is a 4.1 per cent year on year increase compared to 2015, according to Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
The ministry attributed the steady momentum to government action such as easing restrictions in free trade zones (FTZs) and simplified procedures for investment entry.
In 2016, laws on foreign investment were amended and measures were unveiled to simplify the approval procedure for foreign companies, a recent report by state-run Xinhua News Agency said.
In the last few years, India has become a major destination for FDI under the “Make In India” programme.
India replaced China as top destination for foreign direct investment in 2015 by attracting $63 billion worth FDI projects, according to a report.
India was for the first time the leading country in the world for FDI, overtaking the US which had $59.6 billion of greenfield FDI and China ($56.6 billion).