China pledges equal treatment for foreign firms in bid to boost economic integration

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5th March 2024 – (Beijing) The Chinese government has pledged to extend national treatment to foreign-funded enterprises. The commitment was outlined in a government work report delivered to the country’s national legislature on Tuesday, which is currently under scrutiny by lawmakers.

The report emphasises China’s intent to embrace a more comprehensive level of openness and to foster reciprocal economic benefits. In pursuit of this, the country is set to align itself with elevated international economic and trade standards, and progressively broaden the scope of its institutional openness.

There is a concerted move to liberalise foreign investment, with the report detailing plans to dismantle all existing barriers to foreign investment within the manufacturing sector. Additionally, the country is set to ease market access restrictions in key service industries including telecommunications and healthcare.

The Chinese government is taking active steps to position China as a prime target for foreign investment. The report underscores the objective of achieving significant strides in the quality of its Belt and Road cooperation, a clear signal of China’s ambition to extend its influence through this vast infrastructure initiative.

Furthermore, China is looking to deepen its economic cooperation on multiple fronts, engaging in multilateral, bilateral, and regional dialogues and partnerships. Notably, the country is exploring the possibility of acceding to the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would signify a major leap in its economic integration with the digital and broader Asia-Pacific economies.