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Collaboration strengthened as investment forum opens

     chinadaily     2018-9-10 14:38:00    

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Economic, trade conditions require world economies to work together, speakers say

The 2018 International Investment Forum held in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Saturday, centers on building an open world economy. [Photo by Zheng Xiaodong/For China Daily]

Given the changing economic and trade situations around the world, countries should open up and work in collaboration, global guests said at the 2018 International Investment Forum, which was launched on Saturday in Xiamen, Fujian province.

Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said China insists on economic globalization and liberalization of investment and trade.

According to Wang, China had attracted foreign direct investment of up to $2.1 trillion by July in the past 40 years. The foreign enterprises make contribution to 10 percent of urban employment and 20 percent of financial revenue as well as half of import and export sales.

During the same period, China invested $1.88 trillion in foreign businesses. And in the past five years, China's investment in regions and countries along the Belt and Road alone reached more than $80 billion.

"The two-way investments have not only promoted the sustained growth of China's economy, but also made contributions to the growth of the world economy," Wang said.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, in the first half of 2018, 29,591 foreign enterprises have set up in China, an increase of 96.6 percent compared with same period last year. The actual utilized foreign direct investment reached 446.29 billion yuan ($65.27 billion).

The Ministry of Commerce now aims to lower the entry conditions for foreign investment, assure fair competition, protect the legal rights and interests of foreign companies - thereby further optimizing the business environment for foreign investment, Wang said.

Looking back over China's 40 years of reform, the country has achieved a turning point from closed to all-round opening-up, Cao Jianming, vice-chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, said at the forum.

Compared with the first seven months of 2017, foreign direct investment to China saw a 5.5 percent increase this year, reaching $76.1 billion, which stands out in the globally weak investment situation. The numbers should add confidence to foreign investors looking for growth opportunities in China, according to Cao.

"The world is going through a period of major development, major change and major adjustment. The overall global economic growth prospect is good; however, the foundation for steady recovery is not strong, and economic globalization faces challenges going forward."

Last year, global foreign direct investment shrank 23 percent and China has forecast a weak increase of global foreign direct investment this year.

China will continue to loosen its market access rules, promote the innovative reform of national free trade zones and improve the foreign investment environment through amending related laws, Cao said.

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz introduced his country and showcased the nation's desire for cooperation with China. He said Mauritania has passed a new investment law, which provides more convenience for foreign enterprises and a transparent market to attract foreign investors, thereby promoting the country's economic growth.

Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Lim Jock Hoi said that Southeast Asian countries will continue to launch investment projects to improve their infrastructure, including the construction of railways, expressways, airports and harbors.

According to the secretary-general, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar are launching especially ambitious infrastructure projects, and said the ASEAN hopes to reduce transport costs by a third through an upgrade to the region's railways and expressways.

Radim Fiala, director of the economic committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic, said that China has become an important trade partner for the country. According to the director, in the past five years, the country's exports to China have increased 70 percent and it expects further growth in the future. The growth of e-commerce and intelligent technologies, as well as China's reform and opening-up, bring more opportunities to strengthen bilateral trade communication, he said.

The Czech Republic attaches great significance to the Belt and Road Initiative and hopes to connect China and Europe as a logistics port, he said.

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