Free Trade Zones to Open Up China to Foreign Capital; Zz 'Unnecessary Administration' Set to Go

Cape Times (South Africa), August 19, 2013 | Go to article overview

Free Trade Zones to Open Up China to Foreign Capital; Zz 'Unnecessary Administration' Set to Go


BYLINE: Liza Lin Shanghai

CHINA plans to suspend some laws on foreign investment in proposed new free trade zones, including in Shanghai, as part of Premier Li Keqiang's drive to open up the economy to sustain growth.

The changes would provide "innovative" ways of opening up the economy, remove unnecessary administration, and help transform the state's role in the economy, said the State Council following a meeting led by Li on Friday.

China is boosting efforts to attract foreign companies after investment from abroad fell last year for the first time since the global financial crisis. Free trade zones that cut bureaucracy and test financial liberalisation may offer incentives that help maintain economic growth of at least 7 percent a year as the export- and investment-led model of expansion runs out of steam.

"The Chinese government knows that having foreign investment is a very good thing and they want this to be an attractive market for strategic and financial investors," said Kent Kedl, the managing director for greater China and north Asia for risk consulting firm Control Risks.

"Many foreign investors are concerned about the bureaucracy and lack of clarity around regulations. That's probably the biggest concern when they come in" to China.

Foreign direct investment in China fell 3.7 percent last year to $111.7 billion (R1.1 trillion) from a record $116bn in 2011, state data show. Investment rose 4.9 percent in the first half of this year to $62bn.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China has urged the government to open more industries to overseas investors, while an EU business group has warned that optimism is declining and the regulatory environment worsening. …

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